August 1st 2017 marks my mother’s 65th birthday.
My beloved mother was a ‘courageous woman, she was my first school of thought, love, compassion and my paradise.’
Mum was an extraordinarily humble, kind and charismatic lady.
She could strike up a conversation with anyone. An empathetic listener, amazing chef and gardener, she possessed a sharp wit and humour that would instantly lift your spirits.
This month I was I was approached by Ellen van Dongen of the Responsible Shopping Dubai website and asked if The Little Fair Trade Shop would like to be featured. I said YES!
Attended my first Dubai Vegan Meet Up, continued with my Who Made My Clothes course and was diagnosed with a painful frozen shoulder.
I spent most of August 2016 with my siblings in London and mustered the energy to board a train to historical York to visit Shared Earth and talk with founder and owner Jeremy Piercy.
Many thanks to David Piercy for his time and support during my visit.
The FIG Tree Garstang/Lancaster, United Kingdom
I first visited The Fig Tree October 2011 when it was a mere shell and was invited to a fair trade tea party, August 2012.
The enthusiasm, passion and the warm welcome I received was overwhelming and humbling. I was impressed by its amazing transformation.
I revisited The Fig Tree November 2016 where I was invited to participate in a Chocolate Master Class with the Godfather of Fairtrade Bruce Crowther MBE.
I fulfilled a life time ambition to visit Pakistan December 2011 and February 2015 and met the only two fair trade certified organisations in Karachi and Rawalpindi.
I also conducted interviews with a government official and non profit organisations who are working towards implementing the ten principles of fair trade. Each organisation has a dual role and purpose;
1. to support rural artisans establish and develop strong sustainable projects and
2. revive traditional skills and techniques.
I have attached interviews with Fairtrade and NGO's I visited during December January 2011/12 and February/March 2015.
THE DOMINION TRADERS
THE RA'ANA LIAQUAT CRAFTMEN'S COLONY
THE HOME BASED WOMEN'S WORKERS FEDERATION
AHAN - AIK HUNAR AIK NAGAR
KAARVAN CRAFTS - PRIDE PAKISTAN
AL FALAH TRUST AND EMBROIDERY PROJECT
The Ra'ana Liaquat Craftmen's Colony
Income Generation Programme
The Ra'ana Liaquat Craftmen's Colony was founded by Begum Ra'ana Liaquat, 1954.
I visited their inspirational headquarters and observed training workshops where ladies were taught to produce beautiful up-cycled products.
Mrs Nisreen was happy to share her story and work experiences. It was wonderful to learn how the income generation programme had empowered her and given her the opportunity to supplement her income by designing crochet products.
The Dominion Traders
Fairly traded Marble and Onyx Producers
The Dominion Traders have been promoting fair trade in Pakistan since 1947.
I had the good fortune of interviewing Mr Syed Fahad Ali, Chief Executive Officer and his team of talented artisans when I visited their offices and factory, December 2011.
Since it's inception the organisation has supported approximately 60 employees who are treated with the utmost love and respect. Employees receive fair wages, are employed in good working conditions and are provided with medical care.
KAARVAN CRAFTS - PRIDE PAKISTAN
Kaarvan's mission is to be a fairtrade market leader by producing and retailing affordable and sophisticated hand crafted products in local and export markets.
It provides employment opportunities and marketing and advisory services to women and girls in low income communities so that they can enhance their economic realities.
AHAN - AIK HUNAR AIK NAGAR
Ahan is a non profit company created by the Pakistani Industrial Corporation in 2006.
It has 4 offices based in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi.
It aims to provide employment for small marginalised craftsman and artisans around Pakistan.
It works to revive traditional handicrafts through skill enhancement, product development, technological output, quality control and market and financial support.
I was honoured to interview Dr Badar Siddiqui of The Al Falah Trust and Embroidery Project, December 2011.
The Al Falah Trust and Embroidery Project was founded by Mrs. Shahina Siddiqui in 1995.
The organisation supports disadvantaged and marginalised women from, Taluka, Mirpur, Sakhro, Thatha (Tatta) in the province of Sindh.
Traditional embroidery and home accessories are produced using traditional patterns and colours that promote their rich heritage which would otherwise be lost or forgotten.
I was privileged and honoured to interview Ms Zehra Khan, Mrs Jameela and many other ladies at the The Home Based Women's Workers Federation during December/January 2011 and February 2015.
The Home Based Women's Workers Federation with over 4600 members in Quetta (Balochistan) and Hyderabad and Karachi (Sindh).
It's main aim is to advocate and lobby for the rights of home based women workers in Pakistan.
The Federation provides training such as embroidery, leather production and jewellery and fashion design.
Ladies proficient in their chosen skills are selected to mentor and train ladies in their local areas and campaign for a decent living wage by negotiating fair prices through collective bargaining.
HBWWF hopes to develop international partners who can provide assistance with marketing, advertising and product development.
During Ramadan my husband decided to take a weeks annual leave to Kuala Lumpur and I was luckily enough to accompany him.
I'd never visited Malaysia during Ramadan so I felt privileged to see Malaysia from an fasting perspective.
I enjoyed visiting the Butterfly Park which was an oasis of calm and tranquility in the concrete jungle but didn't like the netting.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course and my participation with all the other candidates.
I also enrolled on the second course Social Enterprise: Turning Ideas into Action.
Lesson 3.11, all participants were asked to submit a video about their social enterprise and enter the International Social Innovation Challenge 2016.
I won my social pitch and would like to congratulate Palma Milicevic and Emma Butler who were awarded consultancy and support.
Thank you to all the candidates who entered and voted for me.
Many thanks to Dr Sara Calvo, Jeremy Wade and all the other mentors.
Best wishes to everyone with their social enterprises.
This years World Fair Trade Organization campaign was 'Agent For Change', Human Chains for Fair Trade and the Planet.
I am very grateful to the beautiful ladies at the Dubai Business Women Council who very kindly modelled the Agent for Change posters for me.
I also managed to go to Jumeirah beach and conduct an impromptu beach photo shoot near the iconic Burj Al Arab.
Best wishes to all fairtrade producers, artists, supporters, volunteers and friends around the world for being the voice and change for social, environmental and trade justice.
RESPECT, STAY STRONG, PEACE AND BLESSINGS!
This month I completed the WFTO Asia - Introduction to Gender course and my Six Items Challenge 2017.
Attended The Muslim Lifestyle Show said hello to the Macmillan Cancer Support volunteers and purchased fairtrade dates from the Zaytoun stand.
Travelled to Manchester, UK to pay respects to my parents. A year has passed since my beautiful mother passed away from metastatic breast cancer.
Enjoyed a vegetarian lunch and interviewed Dr Sara Parker who has designed two fairtrade puppet sets with fairtrade producers in Nepal.
Celebrated Fashion Revolution Week.
Continued to mentor and support my World Pulse Change Maker Joanna in Poland.
Last year I had a couple of lovely online conversations with Abi Weeds Managing Director and Emma Hopewell of Odylique - Essential (Organics) Ltd.
I was particularly interested to support Odylique as it is a leading brand of cosmetics based in the United Kingdom that pride them selves on promoting their organic, vegan, fairtrade, cruelty free ethos and specialise in treating problematic sensitive, reactive and allergy prone skin.
October will always be a special month for me. Its a bitter sweet feeling one of immense, love, pain and optimism.
This year I supported the Pink Caravan UAE team by volunteering at their breast screening tent during their first Pink Ladies Games.
I hope to ease the pain of losing Mum by working to prevent the disease through early detection.
I also decided to enrol on the Future Learn course ''Talk About Cancer.''
This August I fulfilled an ambition of a lifetime by visiting Islamic Spain.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the International Business Standards Organization for making me a chartered signatory.
Many thanks to the charming and patient Anna Sadeghpour for featuring The Little Fair Trade Shop in her Blog ''10 Easy Ways To Make a Difference in Dubai.'' It was lovely to meet her for tea.
While visiting friends and family in the United Kingdom I boarded a train to historical York and met with Jeremy Piercy author and MD of Shared Earth at his flagship store, York, the United Kingdom.
On my final day in London I managed to visit my local fairtrade store Fair Deal Organic and Fair Trade located in North London.
Fair Trade Lebanon
In this month recap I've talked about my Ramadan reflections and participating in my first ever International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2016, Baskinta, Lebanon.
My recap of this months events and fair trade campaigns in the United Arab Emirates.
After a brave four year struggle with metastatic breast cancer my beloved mother Meshar Mumtaz Bano passed away this month.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I was blessed to be with her during her final hours.
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