2015 was an exciting time in my life as I worked to complete my first professional website. With my friend and talented Creative Director Helen Barlow Scott
, we worked diligently to design The Little Fair Trade Stamps which would be included in the launch of The Little Fair Trade Shop website Quarter 1, 2016.
Helen Barlow Scott with Sabeena Ahmed celebrating
Fairtrade Fortnight 17 Dubai UAE
We both agreed that the majority of fairtrade artisans I supported were women and it would be beneficial for consumers to recognise the silhouette or outline of a woman to illustrate this.
The first stamp is incredibly powerful and depicts empowerment.
In many cultures the weight of income and caring for the family falls to women.
Whilst we support men and women equally and believe in equal rights we want to give a voice to women who sadly still often receive lower wages and are marginalized.
The Little Fair Trade Stamp Empower
How it all began
During a visit to Cairo, my husband Faisal and I had the good fortune to visit Fair Trade Egypt, and it was there that I purchased my first Fair Trade product a gorgeous butterfly pattern silk and jute bag.
The Tora Women's Group use their ingenuity to create functional practical products that empower them and provide them with a sustainable income.
Fairtrade Butterfly Bag
Faisal and I were completely overwhelmed when we were told about the Tora Women’s Group who live in the garbage collectors area of Cairo and produce the bags as a means of empowerment and sustainable income.
Inspired by this simple act of humanity we decided support the Tora Ladies Group and purchase their products for The Little Fair Trade Shop and dedicate our efforts to trade justice.
I hope to upload some photographs of the Tora Women's Group soon.
If would like to learn more about the artisans who lovingly craft our fair trade products please be sure to visit Meet The Artisans.
Crafted by hand each product is one-of-a-kind.
The beauty lies in no two items ever being identical.
Testament to the skills of craftsmanship and crafts-womanship of our artisans, your handmade gift will have an identity and story of it's own which you can share and enjoy.
The Little Fair Trade Shop Handmade Stamp
The second stamp we created was handmade.
Every fairtrade product I retail is handmade with love and passion, for this reason we knew that designing the outline of a hand would be the most appropriate symbol to emphasis hand made.
I'd like to take this opportunity to share Gulshan Bibi's story, a lady who epitomises humility, strength and dedication to female empowerment.
Gulshan Bibi is one of the most extraordinary women I have ever met.
She is a business woman, mother, social activist and inspiration for all.
It was life changing and inspirational to meet Gulshan Bibi.
Gulshan Bibi became a widow at a young age and started to embroider clothes in her town of Haripur.
Samina Bibi right with a designer - Head Office Rawalpindi
Samina Bibi Founder of SABAH PAKISTAN visited Haripur 30 years ago and decided to support Gulshan Bibi and retail her products in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Samina Bibi sold all Gulshan Bibi's embroidered products and returned with the profits.
Sabah Pakistan - Head Office Rawalpindi
Samina Bibi encouraged Gulshan Bibi to persuade other women in Haripur to establish a co-operative and raise awareness for fair trade, fair wages much to the annoyance of men who weren't supportive and opposed the women.
Over the years the men realised that these courageous women have brought economic prosperity to the area and tourists are a good source of income.
The ladies have built a large school and train other ladies in the rural villages.
I cannot express my adoration for this woman.
Gulshan Bibi and family with Sabeena Ahmed
I visited her beautiful house which was built from the proceeds of selling her hand embroidered products. She welcomed me into her home and I met with her daughters and grand children.
There was an electricity power cut, hence the darkness in the interview.
It was very cold outside and I didn't have the heart to conduct the interview outside.
I hope to visit Gulshan Bibi again soon.
Thanks to Mother Nature we can exist in harmony with the planet.
Our natural values stamp means you're buying products which are organic, eco friendly or made from sustainable natural resources such as bamboo and glass, GOTS certified organic cotton.
Natural products take a holistic approach to production promoting green living and renewable resources – ultimately inflicting less harm on the environment and it's dwellers – that's us and your cat!
Naturally made products are chemical-free which means they're better for your skin, they help keep the air clean and therefore prevent human deterioration. Put simply they are products of the future because they work that much harder to ensure that future generations will be able to sustain on our little green planet.
The Little Fair Trade Natural Stamp
I'd like to share Marcela Salinas Cofre's story about using used and recycled glass to create bespoke jewellery and home accessories.
I first displayed Marcela's recycled glass jewellery at the Covent Garden Market, Jumeirah, 2009. Her collections were an instant success and my customers loved the whimsical cat and dog pendents.
Calypso Chile recycled dog glass pendent
Calypso Chile recycled cat glass pendent
The most striking piece were the bespoke red pendents which was a best seller for me.
Marcela Salinas Cofre is a mother of four children and the founder of the family business Calypso Chile, located in the neighbourhood of La Reina in Santiago, Chile.
Since 1994, Marcela and her creative team have produced and exported fused glass and enamelled copper products.
Fair Trade is practised as a way of life and Marcela and her team work together in a supportive manner with the commitment to social and trade justice.
Calypso Chile is proud to use recycled and recyclable products that do not harm the environment and this unique selling point also promotes the newly implemented guarantee system and transparent supply chain.
Throughout history skills and knowledge have been passed on from generation to generation.
As we embrace the digital age we believe it is important to recognise the value of traditional skills and the wisdom within their legacy.
There are so many exciting stories behind these products which are part of the rich tapestry of humanity and our timeline.
Fair trading helps to protect and promote cultural identities expressed through heritage crafts and means you are able to own a beautiful diversity of home and gift ware.
The Little Fair Trade Shop Heritage Stamp
Atfaluna Crafts, Gaza is a fairtrade producer I have supported since 2009.
This inspirational organisation supports deaf artisans in Gaza to produce unique hand made fair trade jewellery, fashion and home accessories.
One of the most interesting pieces I have sold on the website has been the interfaith plate.
Atfaluna Interfaith Peace Ceramic Plate
We love the creativity involved in turning something old into something new. Recycling, renewing, up-cycling you name it our artisans are on it.
From across the globe we've seen such innovation when materials bound for landfill are reclaimed and salvaged and transformed into quirky one-of-a-kind products. By buying these products you help the planet by not contributing to a wasteful throw away linear society.
The Little Fair Trade Recreate Stamp
Noah's Ark International, India are one of the most innovative and creative fairtrade producers.
I started to support Noah's Ark and their producers during 2010 and have loved their recycled bicycle products.
Noah's Ark Int Fairtrade recycled key bowl
After six years of witnessing the struggles of artisans first hand, Samuel Masih established Noah’s Ark International Exports in 1986 to change the foundation of the exporter-artisan relationship from fear to trust in an effort to raise the artisans out of poverty and preserve their livelihood.
Noah’s Ark is the first and only Fair Trade certified exporter (member of WFTO and FTF India) in Moradabad.
The company has supported artisans and their families with fair wages 10-15% higher than local wages, long-term business investment and collaboration, and health and education initiatives for over 25 years.
An NGO, Noah’s Ark Handicrafts & Artisan Welfare Society, was created in 2000 to advance the charitable activities of the organization, which now include clean water, education, health and capacity building initiatives. ‘Through our work, we give an identity to the artisan’s craft and help them to appreciate the value of their products while ensuring they have the skills and resources to succeed in a changing market. Like the biblical story of Noah’s Ark that symbolizes the concept of saving mankind, we strive to save the art of making handicrafts.’
Charity stamped products mean that your purchase results in a direct donation going to a registered charity.
This donation is either made by us The Little Fair Trade shop on your behalf when you purchase an item from the online store. Alternatively it is made by our fair trade producer organisations to their causes when we procure directly from the artisans.
The Totally Bobbles Pink Fair Trade Bag
Our donations include those made to The Christies Manchester, UK and since 2012 100% of proceed from our fair trade pink bobble bags have gone to Breast Cancer Research and Cancer Patients in the UK.
If you would like to know more about a specific item, please don't hesitate to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you and tell you more about our charitable work.
And if you'd like to submit details of your charitable causes to us please do so we are a growing organisation and love to extend the family.
The Little Fair Trade Shop Charity Stamp
In memory of my beloved mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano and all cancer patients and their families
My beautiful mother Mrs Meshar Mumtaz Bano
Sabeena Ahmed and The Terry Fox Run - Dubai, UAE
Finally, I would like to add Helen's interview about designing the stamps.
Apologies for the video quality, I was very new to video recording and editing.
My Plastic Free July 2021 Summary.
This year was a painful and difficult Plastic Free July, my shoulders caused me severe pain and typing and posting was very difficult.
I've tried my very best to continue to live a plastic free lifestyle and am making gradual changes.
This month I continued to heal from all my surgeries,
I raised awareness for World Day Against Child Labour and attended a few webinars.
The first webinar at the beginning of the month was 'Wave of Hope Crafting Session' with the Fairtrade Foundation UK and the Arts University Bournemouth teams and the second 'Preparing your Board Ready CV' with Lara Oyedele.
Many thanks to Sabeena Akhtar for my signed copy of 'Cut from the Same Cloth.'
As a fairtrade campaigner I believe it is my duty to support fairtrade organisations using fairtrade ingredients in their products and for this reason I have searched long and hard for products that suit my acne reactive skin.
I am relieved to have found a mask that works for my skin.
I apply the Odylique 3 in 1 Maca Mask to my skin every 4-5 days which is particularly helpful before you feel a cystic bump appear before your menstrual cycle.
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