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In Tumbaco, Ecuador, Juan Pinchow has been artistically crafting clay for the past 13 years to make one-of-a-kind ceramic figurines.
Before Pinchow got in touch with Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit company supporting fair trade, he wasn’t even receiving fair pay for his work. His profits were extremely low because his wares were being sold so cheap.
But now Pinchow and his wife work with Ten Thousand Villages to earn fair wages for their labor. His unique moldings are shipped to North America to be sold for the same price Juan received in Ecuador.
As part of fair trade Awareness Month, the P.E.A.C.E. office worked with Ten Thousand Villages last week to raise awareness of the company and also fair trade.
UT’s P.E.A.C.E. office set up a table on the Plant Hall verandah to host a sale for Ten Thousand Villages.
A variety of items were sold, ranging from jewelry to baskets to soap.
All of the items were from places around Southeast Asia, Africa, India, and South America.
The vendors would normally get about 10 cents for something that would take them days to make. Now Fair Trade is letting them set their own prices and receive full profit.
Ten Thousand Villages sent the P.E.A.C.E. office some of the products that had been bought, for full price, by the artisans themselves. The P.E.A.C.E. office then sends the money made back to the organization.
The items that were sold look like the kinds of things that could only be made in a factory or found in the foreign countries. The P.E.A.C.E. office wants the artisans to get fair profits for all of their hard work.
The table was set up on Tuesday and lasted until Thursday. Last October was the first time the P.E.A.C.E. office hosted the event.
“We’ve done really well with selling stuff,” said Callie Smith, one of the students who helped set this up through the P.E.A.C.E. office.
P.E.A.C.E understands the need to raise awareness of fair trade issues and Ten Thousand Villages, which has more than 300 members.
The organization guarantees the skilled artisans from around the world will receive a fair price as well as full payment for their crafts. Fair price is determined by the artesian who takes into consideration materials, labor, and dignity.
Fifty percent in cash advancements is given to the artist when an order is placed, and they are paid in full after shipment.
Fair trade allows craftsmen whose work is notoriously taken advantage of, a chance to receive – in monetary and prideful value – its actual worth.
Corporate companies such as Pier 1 and Pottery Barn can pay much less for these items, only to overprice them for consumers and make large profits. These profits never find their way back to the original artisan, thus robbing him or her of earning a decent wage.
P.E.A.C.E. will host another Fair Trade table in the Vaughn Courtyard next Thursday, Oct. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
For more information about Ten Thousand Villages, Fair Trade and how to make a difference, students can visit http://www.tenthousandvillages.com.