Sasha Caldera is a member of Fair Trade Vancouver’s Board of Directors. As part of his research for his M.A. thesis, he recently left for India to visit a number of Fair Trade cooperatives. The following is a post about a Fair Trade handicraft co-operative called Saint Mary’s Mahila Shikshan Kendra, run by a Catholic nun named Sister Lucia in a slum of Gomtipur.
Saint Mary's craft co-operative helps Indian women overcome gender barriers and double earnings
Empowered women unlock entrepreneurialism and claim dignity for their families.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat—I anxiously looked at my watch and realized that it was already noon. I had only a short while to somehow connect with a Fair Trade handicraft co-operative called Saint Mary’s Mahila Shikshan Kendra (or Saint Mary’s for short), and all I had to go on was a pen-scratched address somewhere in my notebook.
Saint Mary’s is part of a nursing home in Ahmedabad where local women make embroidered crafts such as purses and tapestries, which in turn are purchased by well-established Fair Trade retailers such as Ten Thousand Villages Canada and SERRV. And, halfway around the world, people buy these handmade crafts as holiday gifts and wedding presents.