The First Fair Trade Tour of Palestine May 2018

July 26, 2018
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(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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World Fair Trade Day Picnic on Christ Church Meadow, 12 – 3pm on the 13 May

April 30, 2017


World Fairtrade Day Agents for Change

May 23, 2016

World Fairtrade Day on Saturday 14th May saw Elizabeth Laskar (right) and Lord Mayor Rae Humberstone and Mayoress Beverly Humberstone as Agents for Change

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Celebrate World Fair Trade Day With a 10% Discount

May 11, 2016

To celebrate World Fair Trade Day Fairtrade at St. Michaels is offering  10% off all Fairtrade Crafts on Saturday 14th May

Come and see our fantastic range of artisan handmade crafts.  We look forward to welcoming you!

http://www.fairtradeatstmichaels.co.uk

Find out more about World Fair Trade Day at http://wfto.com/events/world-fair-trade-day-2016


Oxford Celebrates World Fair Trade Day – Be an Agent For Change!

May 11, 2016

You are invited to join us this Saturday 14th May for Coffee, Tea, Inspiring Short Talks/Film followed by a Tour of the Town Hall by Lord Mayor Rae Humberstone

12pm – 1pm – Fair Trade Tea/Coffee/Snacks, short talks/film on Fair Trade and learn how to be an agent for change in Oxford.  Feel free to bring a sandwich along!

1.15pm – 2pm – Photo shoot and Tour of the Oxford Town Hall by the Lord Mayor of Oxford

Free event – all welcome, no booking required

Venue:  Oxford Town Hall, Barristers Room

Sponsored by Oxford City Council and Oxford Fair Trade Coalition

Find out more about World Fair Trade Day at http://wfto.com/events/world-fair-trade-day-2016