International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

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Every year on August 9th, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a holiday founded for the purpose of promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples across the globe. There are an estimated 370 million people belonging to indigenous groups, making up about 5% of the world’s total population. Indigenous populations are usually defined as culturally distinct peoples that have deep ancestral roots to a region. Many of the 5,000 remaining indigenous populations living in 90 different countries have been marginalized and threatened by colonizing groups, and are still fighting for their right to ancestral land, and to live freely according to their traditions. In recent decades, indigenous populations have played a crucial role in creating and guiding environmentalist movements.

This year, the holiday’s theme is, “Bridging the Gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples.” According to the U.N.’s website, the theme “highlights the importance of implementing the rights of indigenous peoples through policies and programs at both the national and international level.” On Friday, August 8th, the U.N. will host a discussion panel in NYC that will be available for live stream between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Promotion for the rights of indigenous peoples will continue next month with the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on September 22nd and 23rd.

Global Goods Partners cares greatly about the survival and revitalization of indigenous peoples. Many of our partners, including Artesania Sorata, Alma de los Andes, AAA, Omba Arts Trust, Pampa Brava, MWEDO, Aj Quen, Uniqueland, and CREATA, work directly with indigenous women and their communities in order to improve their social and political standings in their respective countries, and in order to revive their pre-colonial cultural heritages through the creation of products that reflect aspects of their traditional beliefs, practices, and aesthetics. Buying fair trade products from these organizations gives them the financial means necessary to build their communities, and subsequently strengthen their cultural, linguistic, and ethnic presence in their homelands.

 

New Partner: Silk Road Bazaar

We are excited to present to you our new partner from Karakol, Kyrgyzstan, Silk Road Bazaar. Since 2012, Silk Road Bazaar has been fighting poverty and corruption with fair wage artisan careers in traditional felt work.  Artists Making Felt Bottle Holders

Kyrgyzstan was a member of the Soviet Union for more than half a century, between 1936 and 1991. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan, like many former Soviet countries, has struggled to find economic and government stability. With over one-third of Kyrgyz living at or below the poverty line, Kyrgyzstan is the second-poorest former Soviet country, and the second-poorest country in Central Asia.

Government corruption, including election fraud, has plagued the country and has created an atmosphere of distrust. Because they go largely unsupervised, people and groups in power–the police, the courts, and even hospitals–are able to easily get away with bribery, and will often ignore or work against those who do not pay them under the table. Employers are also guilty of turning away potential employees who do not offer bribes, which leaves many already impoverished citizens jobless.

Silk Road Bazaar sought to offer alternative job opportunities to those struggle to support themselves. In 2012, Silk Road Bazaar partnered with Kork Fiber Art Group in order to bring Kyrgyz artisans and their products to the global market. The group hires and trains mostly women, who typically earn less than men working the same jobs, and who are increasingly discouraged from working outside the home due to a rising religiously conservative culture. Artists making felted silk scarf (2)

Kyrgyz artisans are masters in felting. This practice has been used for centuries, and pre-20th century, wool felt was the most widely available textile in the region. Clothes, shoes, toys, and even houses (yurts) were all created from Kyrgyz felt. Today, Silk Road Bazaar artisans use this textile to make a range of products that can compete in the global market, including felt soaps, Christmas tree ornaments, and children’s slippers. The production and materials of these items are all environmentally-friendly. Silk Road Bazaar sends volunteers to the city’s college to train students in design and sewing. The organization has also partnered with the Peace Corps to educated artisans in healthcare, and to offer them free yoga and dance classes to stay healthy. Currently, over 35 artisans work at Silk Road Bazaar, and the organization hopes that continued exposure on the global market will allow them to expand and hire more and more artisans.

Global Goods Partners has teamed up with Silk Road Bazaar to sell  animal-themed baby booties, all handmade with natural materials. Two designs are currently available with more on the way. Visit our website to browse these products and to learn more about Silk Road Bazaar and Kyrgyzstan.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

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July 30th marks the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The international holiday is held for the purpose of educating people around the world about the gravity and prevalence of human trafficking. According to Free the Slaves, there are between 21 and 30 million men, women, and children currently enslaved. Slavery is illegal in every country; nonetheless, people are captured and sold as slaves in almost every country around the world. This makes the human trafficking industry is the second largest illegal industry in the world ranked only behind the drug trafficking industry.

Most modern-day slaves come from Eastern Europe and the global south, where high rates of poverty, low rates of literacy and education, and a lack or absence of women’s rights make millions vulnerable. However, millions of impoverished men, women, and children in wealthy nations will also fall victim to trafficking every year.

Women and girls are most frequently targeted as slaves, making up 75% of trafficked persons. Often, they are sold into the illegal sex trade, where they have no access to healthcare, wages, or education. Many of Global Goods’ partners, including Destiny Reflection, Friends International, and Borderline, work tirelessly to reduce the risk of sex trafficking in their communities.

Efforts are made around the world to end human trafficking. The first step that everyone can take in putting a stop to this illegal and inhumane business is by becoming educated about it. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Free the Slaves provide information about trafficking, and what can be done to end it. You can spread this information and show your support for victims of trafficking through UNODC’s social media campaign. And of course, you can directly support those vulnerable to trafficking, and discourage big business from using slave labor, by buying fair trade.

Global Goods: Cambodian Cooking

This week, we at Global Goods took to the kitchen and got to work whipping up some Cambodian treats, taken from the Friends International Cookbook: From Spiders to Water Lilies! This Cambodian cookbook, filled with dozens of delicious (and adventurous) recipes, was created by Friends-International, a non-profit organization that aims to rehabilitate street children in Phnom Penh. Friends-International has established a restaurant and culinary school that provides impoverished or homeless teenagers with valuable job training and opportunities in the service industry.

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We’re sharing with you the simple yet scrumptious Caramelised Rice Pudding recipe, topped with fresh fruit. This recipe, known in Khmer as bai damnaub nom treab chia mui sko tnaut (say that three times fast!), requires 7 ingredients, plus as much fruit as you’d like to add. You will need:

  • 500g white sticky rice (soaked in cold water for 30 minutes)
  • 500ml coconut cream
  • 100g white sugar
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp grated lime peel
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 to 6 tbsp palm sugar syrup*
  • Fresh tropical fruit, such as dragon fruit, mango, pineapple, and papaya (or substitute these with seasonal, local fruits)

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Begin by soaking the rice and then grating the lime. Doing these steps first will save you a lot of time and will keep things organized.

After you’ve soaked the rice, steam it for about 30 minutes, or until cooked. Set aside to cool. In a wok or pan, bring coconut cream to a boil, add white sugar, desiccated coconut, vanilla, lime peel, and salt, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add cooled rice and stir frequently on medium heat until all the liquid is mixed into the rice.

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Spread mixture onto a greased baking tray, let cool for a few minutes, and then refrigerate. You can refrigerate the pudding for as long as you want–we let it cool for about over an hour. After the pudding has cooled, cut it into slices and drizzle it with palm sugar syrup. Top it off with some fresh fruit, and you’re ready to eat!

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The cookbook features dozens more recipes, from fish soups to fried tarantulas (seriously.) You can purchase this book, and other Friends-International products, on our site.

Try out this recipe over the weekend, and tell us what you think!

*We couldn’t find palm sugar syrup, but we found palm sugar. To make it into syrup, add a few tablespoons a pan, add water, and bring to a boil. Stir the mixture until it becomes thick. Voilà! Syrup!

 

 

 

 

International Co-operative Day 2014

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Today marks the 92nd International Co-operative Day, originally created by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in 1922 and adopted by the United Nations in 1994. A cooperative is an association that has been democratically founded and owned by individuals or groups who voluntarily work together for their mutual socio-economic benefit. According to the International Co-operative Alliance, “concern for the community is one of the co-operative movement’s founding values,” and therefore this year’s holiday theme is “Co-operative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all.” The ICA wishes to raise awareness of the global progress that can be made through cooperatives, and promote cooperatives as leaders of economic, environmental, and social sustainability.

To learn more about the International Co-operative Day, and about ICA, visit their website or read a summary of the holiday from the UN.

4th of July with GGP!

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At Global Goods, our favorite way to celebrate independence is by spreading it to others–that’s why we’re having a fair trade 4th of July! We’re pairing our stripes with Aayenda stars, and bringing the fireworks home in brilliant handwoven trays. Even our grills are getting the fair trade treatment, with the help of some delicious Cambodian recipes! The purchase of any of these items improves the lives of hardworking women and men in developing nations, so this year, shop fair trade and help spread your holiday happiness around the world!

New Partner: Aayenda Jewelry

Global Goods Partners is proud to announce our exciting new collaboration with the stellar Afghanistan-based organization, Aayenda Jewelry! Aayenda is an artisan jewelry line that was founded in 2013 as a way to create jobs for young Afghan men and women. Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 11.10.31 AM

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