Friday, 22 July 2011 16:02

Revy Fair Trade Products with a Conscience from El Salvador

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According to Ron and Mary Ober, the people of El Salvador are among the most generous and determined you'll find anywhere. Emerging from a civil war, they are striving to improve their daily lives and rebuild their ravaged country. Ron first visited El Salvador over two years ago, through a connection made by a local social justice group who focuses on Central America. When he learned the story of the 1980s and what El Salvador went through, he and Mary became convinced that they should spend the rest of their lives helping the people of El Salvador to rebuild. Revy Fair Trade Products works with individuals and co-ops to help them earn a living wage and provide a brighter future for themselves and their children.  Revy Fair Trade Products sells accessories made by women’s co-ops in El Salvador. These co-ops are paid a fair wage so that the artisans can improve their lives while providing enough income to keep their children in school. Revy Fair Trade founders, Mary and Ron Ober, believe that economics and eco-justice are intertwined. The artisans they support need a sustainable environment in which to live and work. Their products come from nature, using renewable items such seeds for jewelry or natural dyes for handbags. In addition, Revy Fair Trade offers reclaimed and recycled products created from items such as abandoned tires and used plastic shopping bags. Revy means revitalization.  The folks at Revy Fair Trade approach nature as they do their artisans. With nature, the emphasis is both on recycling and natural materials. Their product line consists of:
  • Jewelry created from clay, bamboo, coconut shells and a variety of seeds.
  • Handbags dyed with indigo, teak, tree moss and other organic materials.
  • Recycled materials including plastic bags, glass, used tires and leather scraps.
When you purchase an item from Revy, you help the people of El Salvador and the planet at the same time. The fair trade movement was founded over 65 years ago in the United States to help workers in developing countries. Since then, it has spread globally, and probably has its strongest following in Europe where fair trade products are common.  Fair trade movement goals are to pay artisans a fair wage in the local context, provide health care and educational opportunities, ensure that working conditions are safe and healthy, with no forced overtime without pay, prohibit the exploitation of child labor, discrimination or sexual exploitation, involve employees in decision-making processes, and to use sustainable environmental practices wherever possible. The folks at Revy Fair Trade believe that all workers have the right of association to form their own co-op, receive a living wage, and work without fear of abuse or their own safety. Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated. “Our slogan is ‘Handcrafted, eco-friendly, and fair.’ To be truly eco-friendly, we must go beyond just producing renewable products from nature or recycled materials. We choose to offset our carbon footprint created primarily by transporting and shipping product. Carbonfund.org helps us do this,” says Ron Ober, co-founder of Revy Trade. Shop with a conscience. Shop fair trade. Want to learn more about the fair trade movement?  Start with the Fair Trade Resource Network to explore what other groups and individuals are doing to help the cause.
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