World Fair Trade Day

Celebrating products that put people and planet first

World Fair Trade Day - Kaisa Sari Baskets

World Fair Trade Day takes place on Saturday 11th May 2019. Organised by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), the aim of the day is to celebrate Fair Trade and encourage the public to, where possible, choose Fair Trade goods, becoming fair and ethical consumers.

At Myakka, fair trade is at the heart of what we do. Ever since the outset in 1999, we’ve been selling handcrafted furniture and décor that respects human rights and seeks to have a positive impact on the world. And we’re extremely proud to have been recognised by the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers every year since 2006.

This year’s World Fair Trade Day theme

For 2019, the theme of World Fair Trade Day is ‘innovation’. The aim of this theme is to focus on the innovative aspects of fair trade products and enterprises:

Fair trade enterprises pioneer innovations in production and business models. They are upcycling waste, challenging gender norms, finding new ways to distribute profits, giving opportunities to refugees, reaching marginalised groups and designing beautiful products. All of this is innovation. All of this we will celebrate.

So with that in mind, we’d love to introduce you to Dhaka Handicrafts, one of Myakka’s most inventive and inspirational suppliers and a World Fair Trade Organisation accredited not-for-profit group.

World Fair Trade Day - Kaisa Lidded Berber & Waste Paper Baskets

Celebrating economic opportunity

We first met Tanu, the founder of Dhaka Handicrafts back in early 2015 when we selected their clutter-busting Hogla Baskets, still bestsellers over four years on. Ever since, it’s been a joy to get to know her better and find out more about the way her organisation is changing lives for the better – a staggering 6,875 at the last count!

Based in Bangladesh and with a motto of ‘producers first’, Dhaka Handicrafts is committed to helping disadvantaged families in rural areas, where unemployment is especially acute. Keeping traditional craft skills alive, they specialise in terracotta pottery and woven baskets – supporting over 31 small manufacturing groups and working with over 1,375 families. So that’s a big high five to the WFTO’s advocacy of reaching marginalised groups.

Celebrating greater equity for women

Dhaka Handicrafts is also challenging gender norms by providing employment opportunities for women. Bangladesh has a history of extreme female subordination. The organisation is helping increase the representation of women in the workforce and improving their status and skill. Fatima Begum, below, is just one of these women. She has been working for Dhaka Handicrafts for 15 years and, following the paralysis of her husband, became the family’s sole breadwinner.

Dhaka Handicrafts also provides maternity leave for female employees. Supporting new mothers for a period of three months after birth, this initiative helps mothers maintain postnatal care, get the rest they need, and have access to good nutrition.

Celebrating sustainable production

As well as celebrating the empowerment of vulnerable people, World Fair Trade Day celebrates our fragile planet. Respect for the environment is one of WFTO’s top ten priorities and here again Dhaka Handicrafts scores big. The terracotta pottery and woven baskets in which they specialise use plentiful, locally sourced natural materials. In addition, the Kaisa Sari Baskets that Dhaka makes for us get their splash of vibrant colour from strips of recycled sari fabric. So waste turns into wonderful – and these colours are exclusive to Myakka so you won’t find them elsewhere.

Kaisa Jute Lidded Laundry Basket - World Fair Trade Day

A global festival of colour, craft and kindness

From Bangladesh to Great Britain, everything Dhaka Handicrafts sells allows us to live an ethical lifestyle – on top of being beautiful and unique home buys with an inspirational story. And Myakka offers hundreds of other fair trade goodies – from our exclusive ethically sourced handcrafted furniture collections to rugs, lighting, gifts and more. By choosing where to spend your money you can make a real difference – every day of the year.

We hope we’ve given you an insight into World Fair Trade Day. You can find out more about it here. And why not share information about World Fair Trade Day and your own fair trade choices on social media using the hashtags #LiveFair and #FairTradeDay