As a dear fairtrade friend once said ''Ramadan is a month of reflection, connection and abstention.''
This year Ramadan commenced 6th June and ended the 5th July.
I spent most of the days reading the Noble Quran, thinking of my parents and preparing for my visit to Baskinta, Lebanon.
I would encourage all those fasting to support the fairtrade big breakfast campaign and enjoy a fairtrade cuppa during their iftars and suhoors.
I've displayed a few fairtrade teas and coffees for you to purchase at your local supermarket or fairtrade store.
Hope everyone has a happy and healthy #FairtradeRamadan!!!
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.
I've recorded two fairtrade Eid Mubarak videos emphasising the importance of supporting fairtrade producers.
As Euro 2016 has begun it's important not to forget the 40,000 football workers who hand stitch footballs in Sialkot, Pakistan.
The second video is recorded in Urdu for my family who always complain my Urdu vocabulary and grammar need improvement. I am still learning and hope that they will forgive my errors.
During the last week of Ramadan on a bright hot sunny morning I took a flight to Beirut, Lebanon.
I'd never been to an International Fair Trade Towns Conference but was excited to know that I would be representing the United Arab Emirates.
Fairtraders on the bus to Fourzol and Hedeithe
Fair Trade Lebanon - Cooperative in Fourzol
Fairtraders Ailsa and Georgio enjoying freshly prepared hummus in Fourzol
The Fair Trade Lebanon Van
Vineyards in Fourzol
Many thanks to Ms Elen Jones (Fair Trade Wales) for introducing the visit.
I've also attached a short recording of the ladies producing hummus.
The second visit was to the Najma Al Subah (Morning Star) Cooperative in Hedeithe.
The Najma Al Subah Cooperative (Morning Star) Hediethe
Wafa and the Najma Al Subah ladies
Certificate from the UNDP
The ladies preparing jam for production
Wafa and Me outside the Najma Al Subah Cooperative
I've attached a couple of videos of my visit to the Najma Al Subah Cooperative for you to view at your leisure.
It was wonderful to meet Wafa and hear how the cooperative had changed lives since its inception empowering women, creating employment and providing financially stability and independence.
At the end of our day we were taken to the Fair Trade Lebanon Shop next to the head office in Beirut.
It was a lovely shop stocked with fairtrade olive oil, figs, lentils, olives, salt, hummus, jam, saffron and gift baskets. All the international fairtrade co-ordinators purchased Fair Trade Lebanon gifts for loved ones back home.
Many thanks to Lory, Benoit, Mona, Saskia and the Fair Trade Lebanon team for organising these instrumental visits.
I wish the Fair Trade movement in Lebanon and their producers every success for the future and look forward to welcoming them when they visit the United Arab Emirates.
Further Reading and Links
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This December I was privileged and honoured to participate at the Swiss Business Council for the second time.
Many thanks to Ms Charoline Engel, Claudine and her team for organising another successful market.
It was lovely to finally meet the team from the Women's World Project, Manchester in association with The Pankhurst Centre.
I had a lovely afternoon meeting strong willed, ambitious, beautiful women.
During my visit to my home city of Manchester I attended the North West Regional Fair Trade Conference.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable intensive day and I was exhausted by its end and had to rest my poor shoulder.
Many thanks to Chrisi, Adam and the Fairtrade Foundation team for organising this event.
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