If you want to help indigenous peoples, why not support them by purchasing their crafts, foods and other products through a fair trade organization? Companies committed to fair trade try to return between a quarter and a third of the price we pay for items to the person who produced them. Although some might complain that fair trade products cost slightly more money than non-fair trade items, many believe that this is a small price to pay for improving the lives of workers struggling against poverty.

Most fair trade organizations buy crops, produce and handicrafts directly from small farmers and artisans. This added income can help people in the poorest countries enormously by cushioning their fortunes against volatile fluctuations in world market prices. Thus, with their livelihoods more secure, they can afford to feed, clothe and shelter their families, as well as invest a portion of their earnings back into growing their businesses further.

Popular indigenous products include:

Pine-needle baskets from Nicaragua
Tropical jams from Ecuador
Bone, ivory and soapstone carvings from Canada
Naturally dyed flax and alpaca sweaters from Australia
Pashmina shawls from Nepal
Honey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cushion covers and wall hangings from India
Salmon from Russia
Medicinal herbs and plants from South Africa

Bushman jewellery
photo: www.survival-international.org


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