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.
This June I continued to fast during Ramadan and took a break from Facebook.
I devoted my time to abstain, reflect and connect with the Almighty. Concentrated on my health and prayed for my beloved parents.
I managed to sign up to Do Nation. Do Nation helps people commit to make small behaviour changes that add up to a better world.
I supported the I AM ROHINGYA theatre production group in Canada.
Enrolled on the Future Learn Fashion Revolution Course 'Who Made Your Clothes?'
The Macmillan Campaigns team UK asked to share my World Cancer Day vlog about my late mother on their site.
Fair trade Banana Lesson Plan
I was invited to teach fairtrade to a group of 25 children at the Star International School, Mirdif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The children were enthusiastic and eager to learn about fairtrade.
I decided to introduce the banana supply chain and used role play cards for them to understand and emphasise with the difficulties and challenges faced by farmers and banana workers.
My Visit to Traidcraft
I recently visited Alistair Menzies at Traidcraft's head office, Gateshead, UK and was invited to provide input for a video the Traidcraft team is producing for FairtradeUAE.
This was my second visit to Gateshead and I was interested to learn about Traidcraft's new initiatives and fair trade products.
Sign up for fair trade awesome!
Enter your email to be the first to receive news of product launches, discounts and ethical fashion campaigns.