Behind The Scenes: Fair Trade Essay

1782 words - 8 pages

Fair Trade: The Social Movement
Fair trade is social justice movement that began in 1950s. It is “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade.” (Smith.) Organizations that participate in fair trade work to support producers, raise awareness, and campaign for change in regulations and practice in international trade. In other words, they help those workers that in unjust positions similar to those of the coffee farmers. However, they do not just work for the coffee farmers; they work to help others that are in similar circumstances such as textile, handicrafts, agriculture and more. Fair trade funds projects that “are ...view middle of the document...

My shift began early Sunday morning at 7:00am. Seeing as this was my first time volunteering for this organization, I was not sure on what to expect. I arrived at St. Nichols of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church and met Sister Maureen who was in charge. She showed me where we were to set the tables and the crafts. In the auditorium-like room were a total of 7 tables for the crafts and 2 tables for the checkout station. Soon after, Mariah, a volunteer at Handcrafting Justice, arrived with the handicrafts. I helped unload her van; I carried the bins filled with crafts with great curiosity. I wondered what kinds of objects they held. As we emptied the van, Sister Maureen directed me to start placing the contents of 2 of the bins on one of the tables. Listening to her instructions, I opened the bin and discovered figurines and pottery. The figurines were greatly detailed and of catholic ornaments. There were figures of angels, a rosary box, a holy family and two other Catholic characters. The pottery consisted of animal candle holders, flower incense holders, and vases. I handled each item with great care knowing that these were intricately hand-made crafts. As I organized and placed each one of the table, I observed the refined details each one held. My favorite was the holy family which was of a man with a hat, his wife and their baby. The detail was very distinct and carefully added. It was easily noticeable how much time and effort was placed in creating the figure. However, what caught my attention the most was the newspaper used to protect the figurine. Now you might think it’s just a newspaper, but it wasn’t an ordinary paper. It was a Filipino paper. I recognized the words, the persons of interest in the articles, and especially the household name of Manny Pacqiao. At first, I thought nothing of it. I thought that maybe they just had the paper around and it was convenient to use for wrapping. It wasn’t until I spoke to another Sister when I learned something interesting.
My favorite figurine, the one I was greatly fascinated with, was made in the Philippines. It was made by Filipino workers. From the ashes of Mount Pinatubo, Filipino workers transformed the remnants into beautiful works of art. Art that does not only embody the cultural roots of the Philippines with the Catholic reference, but also the geographic and historic roots with the transformation of the ashes of the volcano that wreaked havoc in the country years ago. I was surprised to learn this fact. However, it was not just that single item that was made in the Philippines. It was the entire figurines and pottery I was handling. All were made in the Philippines from the ashes of the volcano. It was a coincidence that I was the one placing them on the table since I was just randomly appointed; however, it made me more knowledgeable and aware of the circumstance.
It was a coincidence since I was unaware that the Philippines is a part of the Fair Trade Movement. However, once I...

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