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Elizabeth Walker

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Saturday September 28th, 2013

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Ten Thousand Villages is home to treasures from around the globe, all under one roof.

Ten Thousand Villages is North America’s oldest and largest Fair Trade Organization, with Windsor’s location right in the heart of Walkerville at 624 Chilver Road, Unit 102. Through their retail stores across North America, Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for talented artisans in developing countries who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed. Their goods are sold through long-term, Fair Trade relationships allowing the artisans to earn a fair income. The income these artisans make can help pay for food, education, health care and housing.

The handmade items in store come from over 35 countries, including Ecuador, Kenya, Peru and Sri Lanka. Handcrafted items range from colourful jewellery, scarves, soaps, notebooks and stationary, musical instruments, decorative items such as wooden sculptures, picture frames, vases and dishes. They also carry an extensive selection of Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and other food items, including many gluten free choices.

Tiny Turtle Fridge Magnet, Recycled Paper Lidded Bowl and Earthy Llama Keychain

There are information sheets available for the items sold, including information about the artisan group who made each item, where they are from, materials used and how their artisan groups are benefitting from Fair Trade agreements. For example, the Tiny Turtle Fridge Magnet is made in Indonesia and is coloured by hand using the traditional batik process. The Recycled Paper Lidded Bowl is made in Vietnam using traditional basket-making techniques and recycled posters. MAI Vietnamese Handicrafts’ mandate is to help create work for the poor and marginalized, including women and ethnic minority groups. MAI’s artisans receive social and health care insurance benefits and can apply for scholarship funds. The Earthy Llama Keychain was handcrafted in Ecuador by the artisan group Maquita (MCCH), who also focus on helping farm collectives exporting Fair Trade cocoa, ecotourism, and women’s co-operatives.

There are hundreds of gift items available at the spacious Ten Thousand Villages store, including many children’s items. Brides and Grooms can even sign up for a wedding registry to receive handpicked Fair Trade items on their wedding day.

You can learn more about Ten Thousand Villages and the many artisans behind their goods by visiting their website or by visiting the Windsor store’s Facebook Group. The Windsor location is located at 624 Chilver Road, Unit 102 and can be contacted by calling 519-255-1293. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sundays from 12pm – 4pm.

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