For Giving Tuesday, the PJC is sharing the proceeds of your donations with the Kaouritel Cooperative in Niger and US Sherpa in Nepal, two fair trade cooperatives that we work with through our store.
Read more about them below, and consider supporting the fundraiser here!
-Rachel Siegel, PJC Executive Director
In our store we sell fair trade, direct trade, local, and educational products. The store is a way to educate shoppers and give them opportunities to use their consumer power thoughtfully.
The producers we work with through direct trade, count on our solidarity. Like everyone, these folks have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. The products we sell go directly to their communities to build wells, composting outhouses, schools, and more.
The Peace & Justice Center is the only place in the US supporting the coop in Niger and is the longest standing vendor for US Sherpa.
Read on to learn about these two inspiring groups. Both exist to provide decency in their communities in the face of global imperialism and capitalism that have left them without the opportunities they deserve.
You can support other small producers in the global south by shopping at our store — now online here.
Kaouritel Cooperative, Niger
One of the direct trade relationships we have is with the Cooperative Artisan Kaouritel in Niger. Founded in 1993, this cooperative supports dozens of nomadic families from the Toureg and Fulani tribes. The coop members are mostly women and their primary product is exquisite, silver jewelry. The income from these sales has allowed the coop members to dig wells and build a nomadic school. They have access to a food bank that provides grains during the dry season. The coop plants trees to combat the advancement of the Sahara and Tenere deserts. Additionally, they have partnered with local musicians to preserve their culture by touring in Northern Africa and Europe. During those tours, they would also sell their jewelry.
Niger is so hot and dry (the hottest country in Africa), that the COVID-19 virus doesn’t spread easily. This is fortunate for the people there. However, international solidarity in the form of NGOs, has evaporated. Services and food that these people relied on are gone. Sales of the jewelry in the capital Niamey have also run dry.
The Peace & Justice Store is the only place in the US that sells this beautiful jewelry and with our storefront closed, we aren’t able to support them either. There are 80 people in the cooperative currently. Your donations will go directly to them so they too can survive this pandemic. David Kwete Bukukanga, a former PJC volunteer, lives in Burlington and sends the money back to the coop via MoneyGram.
US Sherpa, Nepal
US Sherpa International produces fair trade, sustainable products that are handmade in Nepal by mostly marginalized women artisans. Headquartered in Williston, Vermont, they continue to work closely with their family partners in Kathmandu. This business supports close to 300 artisans in and around Kathmandu who make wool knitted products, scarves, bags, felted products, prayer flags and cashmere products.
From US Sherpa’s founder, Ongyel Sherpa: “The Peace & Justice Center was our first wholesale customer when we started selling our products almost 20 years ago. We are delighted to be selected for the Peace & Justice Center’s giving Tuesday donations recipient. This year has been extra difficult for our producers in Nepal due to the covid-19 global pandemic. Our wool knit producers group has been specially impacted due to the slowdown in economy and business. They have had to close their shop and even changed their operation site due to not being able to pay rents. There are no government and other nonprofit economic relief programs in Nepal and due to the shutdown in the country and no arrival of tourists, the domestic market has suffered loss in a huge way.
We hope that this giving Tuesday donation from the Peace and Justice Center will help our wool knit producers group in a small way.
Once again, we are grateful to work with such a great organization and hope to continue working in the future and make a meaningful difference through our beautiful Nepalese made products. Thank you.”
It’s not too late to contribute to the Giving Tuesday fund to support these two groups!
Don’t forget to check out other small producers in the global south by shopping at our store — now online.