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.

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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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Father’s Day Gifts 2014

Father’s Day is right around the corner! Make this year extra special for Dad by giving him a unique gift from Global Goods Partners. A fair trade gift is the gift that keeps on giving: you’ll be making an impact while making Dad’s day—it’s a win-win situation all around!

We’ve compiled a few quintessential Father’s Day gift options. You simply can’t go wrong with any of them!

Handmade Silk Tie & Men’s Bolivian Woven Wallet:

Is Dad in need of a wardrobe update? Help him out with a sleek silk tie or a handsome leather wallet. He can look good while supporting fair trade—what’s more stylish than that?

Is Dad in need of a wardrobe update? Help him out with a sleek silk tie or a handsome leather wallet. He can look good while supporting fair trade—what’s more stylish than that?

Rice Bag Eco-Apron:

Summertime means that the grill is out and Dad is cookin’. Make your next family barbeque a responsible one by having Dad don an eco-friendly, ethically made apron. (Bonus: it’s easy to clean!)

Summertime means that the grill is out and Dad is cookin’. Make your next family barbeque a responsible one by having Dad don an eco-friendly, ethically made apron. (Bonus: it’s easy to clean!)

Men’s Duffle Bag:

Whether he’s traveling for work or pleasure, Dad needs luggage he can rely on. Our men’s duffle bag is made from recycled materials and has a ton of space (and plenty of pockets) without the bulk.

Whether he’s traveling for work or pleasure, Dad needs luggage he can rely on. Our men’s duffle bag is made from recycled materials and has a ton of space (and plenty of pockets) without the bulk.

Make sure to check out our website for even more Father’s Day gift ideas!

Graduation Gifts 2014

This month, students all across the country, whether they are in high school or law school, will be graduating. After years of education, independence, and growth, our graduates will be entering their next chapter of life with imaginative and determined eyes towards the future—so what better way to celebrate than with a gift that makes a lasting impact? Global Goods Partners has put together a list of our Top Gifts for Top Grads, so that you can find the perfect way to say “Congratulations!” to a student that’s ready to get out there and start building a better world.

     For the Explorer: Recycled Materials Passport Holder

This sturdy passport holder, made from 100% recycled materials, will not only provide your favorite adventurer with a stylish way to (hopefully!) keep track of her most important travel item, it will also provide women in Cambodia with a fair salary and an improved standard of living!

This sturdy passport holder, made from 100% recycled materials, will not only provide your favorite adventurer with a stylish way to (hopefully!) keep track of her most important travel item, it will also provide women in Cambodia with a fair salary and an improved standard of living!

 For the Style Lover: String Bracelets 

Appeal to your beloved fashion maven’s good taste with a stylish and meaningful gift. These colorful bracelets come from Guatemala, where women artisans work hard to improve their communities. The bracelets tell a story about the artisans, and are therefore perfect for someone who values fashion as a form of self-expression.

Appeal to your beloved fashion maven’s good taste with a stylish and meaningful gift. These colorful bracelets come from Guatemala, where women artisans work hard to improve their communities. The bracelets tell a story about the artisans, and are therefore perfect for someone who values fashion as a form of self-expression.

For the Tech Buff: Striped Cotton iPad Case

For the first person you call when your computer doesn’t start up, this iPad case could not be a more excellent gift. They already have the latest and greatest electronics—now all they are missing are some chic accessories! This case was woven with expertise by Mayan women, who are able to get an education and feed their families through the sales of products such as this one.

For the first person you call when your computer doesn’t start up, this iPad case could not be a more excellent gift. They already have the latest and greatest electronics—now all they are missing are some chic accessories! This case was woven with expertise by Mayan women, who are able to get an education and feed their families through the sales of products such as this one.

Th(E) Bracelet: Educate. Empower.

Th(E) Bracelet

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What’s the story behind these beautiful bracelets? >> Th(E) bracelet is an initiative that aims to improve and provide educational opportunities for women in rural areas of Guatemala. The project came to be through a partnership between Global Goods Partners and Paola Pullin, a senior at Barnard College. A Guatemalan native, Paola had always been appalled by the significant levels of poverty and lack of education in her country, mainly among girls in the rural areas. Thus, she set about looking for contributors that would help her turn these girls’ dream of pursuing a proper education into a reality.

How it works >> All bracelets are produced by young artisanal craftswomen employed by GGP Partner, Kiej de los Bosques, in rural Guatemala. Every 16 bracelets sold will provide one year of education for a young girl in this region. The profits generated by the sale of Th(E) bracelet on the GGP website and elsewhere, are channeled back to the girls who made them as an educational scholarship that covers half of their annual tuition. The other half, the girls pay themselves with the income they receive from producing the bracelets.

ThE_Bracelet

Girls Education and Impact of Project >> Th(E) bracelet’s main goal is to contribute to the common good by educating and simultaneously empowering women. The project seeks to create opportunities for these women so that next generations of Guatemalan women thrive and become active members of their society. With your help, Th(E) bracelet hopes to fund as many scholarships as possible to further the role of women in Guatemala and in the world.

Targeting education is so important to this project because it helps resolve other issues that stem from high levels of illiteracy and in turn, perpetuate the cycle of poverty and disease. When women are educated, their labor opportunities increase, as well as their quality of life. Th(E) bracelet not only provides them with an education, but also with the opportunity of having a stable source of income, which comes from the craftwork and labor production of the bracelet.

With a source of income, women’s purchasing power increases and parallel to it, their economic independence. Economic independence gives women autonomy within their households and helps alleviate the problem of male supremacy, which is predominant in the rural areas of Guatemala. Most importantly, women are found to reinvest back to their families more than men do. By empowering a woman and increasing her purchasing power, she is better able to provide for her children and seek the best opportunities for them. Thus, the benefits of helping one woman trickle down to her children and to the community they form a part of. Initiatives like these are key to producing sustainable change, not only in Guatemala, but in other developing countries as well.

SHOP TH(E) BRACELET >>> 

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#MandelaDay: Artisan Spotlight: Streetwires

Happy Mandela Day! Today the world has convened to celebrate the iconic revolutionary’s 95th birthday, as well as his 67 years as a leader, activist, and revolutionary. Nelson Mandela’s ceaseless fight for equality and justice not only impacted South Africa, but the entire world. After his 27-year imprisonment, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president. The years that followed were a testament to the fight that he refused to lose. South Africa’s apartheid policies had been abolished, and a country was reformed for the better. Even after his term as president, Mandela never stopped being a changemaker. He continued to be a voice for peace, inclusion, justice, and equality. Nelson Mandela is not just an icon, but a symbol of humanity’s greatest potential to resist that which is wrong, and fight for that which is righteous.

In honor of changemakers, we would like to put the spotlight on our South African artisan partner, Streetwires!

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Streetwires is a fair trade organization that works with Zulu wire art craftspeople, who mold recycled wire, beads, and tin cans into colorful toys, keychains, jewelry, and gifts. Established in 2000, it provides training, support, and raw materials to over 100 formerly unemployed men and women in Cape Town and rural Clanwilliam. Streetwires has expanded its reach, opening a center in Johannesburg in 2007 which was then turned over to entrepreneurial artisans. Its goal is to develop leaders who demonstrate to the community that it is possible to start a successful business despite challenging circumstances.

When Victoria Ntulini joined Streetwires, she was entirely unfamiliar with the craft process, explaining that tools such as pliers and cutters were mainly used by men in her culture; now, she is a loom-beading expert and in charge of materials distribution to the entire team of artisans.” (Source: globalgoodspartners.org)

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   We, at Global Goods Partners, are fortunate to have partners all over the world who are changing their communities for the better. Through the medium of artisanal works and handicrafts, organizations such a Streetwires are invoking hope into those that are despondent, and uplifting those that have been knocked down. So on this Mandela Day, give back to your community!

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is asking that you spend 67 minutes of your day giving back, and helping out! Any act of kindness is welcomed to commemorate the South African activist’s fight for freedom and equality. You can make a new friend, or volunteer at a soup kitchen! Check out the official website for 67 ways to give back! http://www.mandeladay.com/static/join

Also, check out our website to purchase the phenomenal goods featured in this post from Streetwires!

Artisan Spotlight: Gone Rural

Global Goods Partners works with amazing artisan groups who are all doing incredible things! We strive to partner with artisan organizations who are meeting a social need in their respective communities. Today, Gone Rural is in the spotlight!

Gone Rural is a Swaziland-based organization made up of over 700 rural women artisans in thirteen communities. In addition to empowering women and alleviating poverty through fair trade, Gone Rural runs a wide variety of programs to improve the lives of women and children in the region.

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Last week Gone Rural officially opened up their second community hall in Emdlangwe. The local community was involved in its construction every brick of the way. Literally! Guba—a Swazi NGO working to fight against poverty via sustainable human and ecological development—led a workshop teaching 68 women and 15 men the philosophies of eco building.

Afterwards, they put theory into practice and made 2,500 bricks out of local grass and loamy soil. Created from the earth, molded by the people, and baked by the sun, the bricks were made in a span of just 2 weeks. Now the community has a sturdy building, which involved every bit of Swaziland in the process!

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There are so many things that can be created from materials that would otherwise be discarded, or forgotten. Gone Rural constructed an entire building made out of the soil and grass beneath their feet! And we, at Global Goods Partners, feature amazing accessories made from recycled materials. Just take a look at our Recycled Tire Men’s Wallet, and our Recycled Net Weekend Bag (featured above). Sustainable initiatives such as these, are the key to keeping our world, and ourselves healthy and strong for many years to come!

You can find the sleek Recycled Tire Men’s Wallet & the stylish Recycled Net Weekend Bag on our website, where you will also find vibrant baskets made by the women artisans of Gone Rural!

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