(Picture: Delegates were invited to wear the traditional dress of Palestine)
By Carol Wills
In early May 2018, Elizabeth Laskar and I joined the first ever Fair Trade Tour of Palestine, culminating in the celebration of World Fair Trade Day at the University of Bethlehem Fair Trade Resource Centre on Saturday 12 May.
We saw how Fair Trade enterprises support Palestinian traditional culture, preserve traditional crafts and provide thousands of farmers and other producers, many of them women working from home, with a much needed income and with hope that a better life is possible.
Our tour took place in the West Bank (also known as the Occupied Territories) where Palestinian Fair Trade producers live and work in extremely difficult circumstances under a military occupation that has gone on for over 50 years. Alongside our Fair Trade visits we heard many heart breaking stories of people who had lost loved ones and suffered injustices. On top of this, the economic situation is harsh and unemployment is high.
Nevertheless, we were made hugely welcome wherever we went, drinking little cups of mint tea and very strong black coffee and eating enormous quantities of local couscous, hummus and tomato, cucumber and mint salad. Our tour started at Canaan Fair Trade which produces the olive oil sold by Zaytoun and where we enjoyed an olive oil tasting before touring the impressive facility. It is a cooperative of more than 2000 olive farmers.
At the Palestinian Agricultural Research Centre in Jericho, a member of the WFTO, we saw how grapes are dried to produce Fair Trade sultanas and raisins and met a group of women rolling couscous by hand. The Women of Hebron Cooperative Association produces fine, traditional embroidery and backstrap loom woven wool carpets. Most women work from home but come to the Centre with their work, to attend meetings, take part in decision-making and have the chance to gossip. Men work at the Hebron glass and ceramic factory nearby, where Traidcraft places orders.
In Jerusalem we visited Sunbula Fair Trade, also a WFTO member, working to bring fresh designs and colour to traditional embroidery and providing an income to several thousand women. Sunbula means “spike of wheat” in Arabic (i.e. the flower that makes bread) and Sunbula’s mission is to provide its producers with the gift of a more dignified life.
Finally we reached Bethlehem and the Holyland Handicraft Cooperative Society where we saw some fine olive wood carving in their magnificent shop by the Field where the shepherds watched their flocks by night not far from the appalling wall where Banksy has his Walled Off Hotel.
On World Fair Trade Day we donned traditional Palestinian dress to celebrate at the University.
We came home convinced that if Palestinians are going to have any chance of a sustainable future at all, we must tell their stories and buy their products.
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Policy Statement: The Oxford Fair Trade Coalition is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and keeping any information we have about you secure.
Who are we? We are The Oxford Fair Trade Coalition, an independent, not for profit organisation working in Oxford and the surrounding areas.
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With thanks from the Oxford Fair Trade Coalition
Consultation lunch meeting for prospective, new and returning members
Date: Monday 18th June
Venue: Common Ground 37-38 Little Clarendon St, Oxford OX1 2HU
Come along to hear what the Oxford Fair Trade Coalition can do for you, your fair trade business or organisation – and let us know what you would like from us. Find out how you can be part of the great fair trade debate and help to sustain the growing movement of treating trade as a way of benefiting everybody rather than just a few shareholders.
Whether you are a lapsed member or have never been part of OFTC before, we think you will be inspired and enthused by our new member offer. These include:
- Opportunity to showcase your business or organisation at One World Fair on November 3rd – this year with a stronger emphasis on fair trade, with talks, fashion show, food stalls – promoted city-wide by Oxford City Council.
- Quarterly meetings now alternate between evenings and daytime and are held mainly at the lively, inviting Oxford Hub above Turl Street Kitchen, where you will get your first drink free.
- Being promoted by Oxford City Council and through OFTCs growing social media base – website, Facebook, Twitter etc and be part of joint publications promoting fair trade in Oxford
- A chance to be part of the wider international debate on fair and ethical trade – for example by getting early alerts about our events, featuring high profile, expert speakers and being invited to make your voice heard in advocacy campaigns
- Having a line of communication to Oxford City Council about the needs and concerns of fair trade businesses and organisations in the city
- …and lots more!
We very much look forward to seeing you and hearing YOUR ideas about how Oxford Fair Trade can help you – and vice versa.
A light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP email@example.com
Common Ground is a café and free social workspace with really great tea and coffee and a friendly warm welcome. It also has games, group meetings and classes, such as yoga.
All the best
Fashion Revolution! Lord Mayor Cllr. Jean Fooks invites the city of Oxford to ask “Who made my clothes?” 26 April 6pm Oxford Town Hall – All invitedApril 25, 2018
On the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013, “Fashion Revolution” encourage millions of people to ask brands #whomademyclothes and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.
The more people who ask #whomademyclothes, the more brands will listen.
Use your voice and your power to change the fashion industry. Together we are stronger.
Please do join us at the events in Oxford listed below as we raise awareness about Fair Trade within the industry. Booking recommended for both film showings.
Film showing at Brookes visit Booking and information
For more information and resources (posters, templates of letters that you can send to your favorite brand, ideas and facts) or to put on your own event during Fashion Revolution week please click on this link Fashion Revolution
Dear Oxford Fair Trade Coalition Members and friends,
How can you help ensure that the people who produce our food, clothes and more have a better chance of making a decent living? One way is by getting active with Oxford Fair Trade.
We’d love you to join us in organising events, promoting Oxford’s wonderful fair trade businesses, getting your place of work/worship/study involved, spreading the word, raising funds, influencing decision makers and more.
The Turl Street Kitchen downstairs serves tea, coffee, wine etc (as well as food). The first drink is on us!
PLEASE REPLY TO THIS EMAIL TO CONFIRM YOU ARE PLANNING TO ATTEND. If we don’t hear from you we will assume you are not able to join us and if it seems we will not be quorate, we will reschedule the meeting.
Many of you have been unable to join meetings in the past because of their timing on Monday evenings. This year, to give everyone who wants to a chance to participate, every other meeting will be from 4.00-5.30 pm (see new dates below).
As this month’s meeting is an evening one, I will be organising a special consultation meeting during April for those who can only make day-times. We want to find out what would make OFTC work better for you, so that you can work better for fair trade.
Most of our meetings will now be held at Oxford Hub. But we’d also like to offer you the opportunity to host a meeting – and perhaps showcase your own fair trade work. Can you host our July 9th meeting?
We’re also exploring the possibility of enabling you to dial in – for example using Skype – if you can’t be there in person. We’ll confirm nearer the time.
The dates for the 2018 Steering Group Meetings are:
26th March (6.30-8.00 pm – Oxford Hub)
9th July (4.00-5.30 pm – TBC – would you like to host this meeting?)
1st October (6.30-8.00 pm – Oxford Hub)
10th December (4.00-5.30 pm – Oxford Hub)
The next AGM will be in January 2019 – date and venue TBC
- Minutes – approve minutes of last meeting
- Inclusiveness – what more can we do to make Oxford Fair Trade as welcoming as possible for all?
- Action groups – volunteers to take forward events, marketing, fundraising, advocacy etc.
- Membership – discuss new membership model proposal which will be presented at the meeting
- Income – your ideas for fundraising so that Oxford Fair Trade can do more and better
- Events – your ideas for events in the coming year
- AOB – Any Other Business… anything else you’d like to raise!
Looking forward to seeing you next Monday evening!
All the best
Chair – Oxford Fair Trade Coalition
Phone: 07773 949 787