To mark International Women’s Day (8 March), Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade organisation, is highlighting its work empowering women in the developing world.
Traidcraft’s new ‘Let It Grow’ campaign aims to help smallholder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries to develop their farming skills and in doing so build businesses that help them trade their way out of poverty. Many of these farmers are women who often live in social isolation with every day bringing a fresh struggle to find enough food for themselves and their families.
One such farmer is Suvidha Jani, who lives in rural Odisha, Eastern India, one of the poorest places in the world, where the majority of people live in extreme poverty. Before working with Traidcraft, Suvidha would make a living foraging in the forest, gathering leaves and berries to sell on to local villagers, earning little more than a few rupees for hours of gruelling work.
Now, after working with Traidcraft, Suvidha has turned her life around completely. Since joining an organic cotton farming project funded by Traidcraft she has been taught better farming techniques, allowing her to improve the quality of her crop and achieve a better price.
Working with Traidcraft has also brought Suvidha and her husband closer together. He previously struggled with alcohol addiction, but after seeing Suvidha develop her skills and thrive, he has now stopped drinking and helps with the cotton harvest. As her family life has improved, Suvidha’s confidence has grown and she now mentors other women in the project.
Suvidha said: “I had to go from door to door to ask for food, which was very depressing. Now I can talk to anyone. I can also visit places and meet people without being scared.”
Larry Bush, Marketing Director at Traidcraft, said: “At Traidcraft we firmly believe that no matter where in the world someone happens to live, they deserve the chance to thrive. International Women's Day shines a spotlight on the challenges and hardships faced by women and girls both at home and abroad.
“Stories such as Suvidha’s highlight the reason Traidcraft exists. Where once Suvidha lived in isolation with no clear route out of poverty, by working with Traidcraft she has joined a community of skilled farmers earning a living and providing for her family.
“It can often feel difficult to know how to help, but by donating to our charity or by buying fair trade products from Traidcraft, people in the UK are truly making a difference to the lives of families in developing countries.
“By donating to our Let It Grow appeal this International Women’s Day or buying online from the Traidcraft store, your actions will help create long-lasting change for women in developing countries around the world.”
Thanks to the success of Traidcraft’s ‘Fair Necessities’ campaign in 2015, the organisation has been able to progress a number of new initiatives in the developing world to help people improve their lives, such as in India, Bangladesh and East Africa. Let It Grow aims to fund more of these life-changing projects around the world, empowering farmers and artisans to truly fulfil their potential.
You can help us to help other women like Suvidha this International Women’s Day. Visit www.traidcraft.co.uk/LetitGrow to make a donation to our Let It Grow appeal, or support us by buying from our selection of fair trade products at www.traidcraftshop.co.uk or over the phone on 0191 491 0855, or through your local Fair Trader or Traidcraft stockist, details of which can be found at www.traidcraft.co.uk/stockist-map.
Watch Suvidha's Story here...