Frontiers of Justice, Travelogue

Trade Aid, A Fair Trade Association of Basket Weavers


basket weaving

Sinead Naughton, a member of our delegation and a CRS fair trade ambassador learns how to weave a basket.

On the seventh day of the Frontiers of Justice visit, the group visited Trade Aid, a fair trade association of basket weavers in Ghana. After spending three wonderful days in Navrongo meeting Catholic education officials and visiting high schools including the St. John’s Integrated Technical High School, one of three secondary schools for the deaf in Ghana where the deaf students gave a sign name to each member of our delegations we moved on to Bolgatanga where we visited Trade Aid, a fair trade association of basket weavers that works in partnership with A Greater Gift.

Here is Sinead Naughton’s reflection on the visit with the basket weavers of trade aid.

After being introduced to the concept of Fair Trade by CRS a few years ago I often talk to people about the value of “Shopping with a Conscience.” That said the concept has never been as clear to be as today with a short trip to a shed in the middle of a field to visit the basket weavers of Bolgatonga. The ladies (and one gentleman weaver) we met there are all a part of Trade Aid, an NGO based in this Upper region of Ghana.

Trade Aid Integrated was started as a college economics project in 1995.  Nicholas Apokerah and his friends watched as some prospecting was being done in their region and were fearful of environmental degradation.  In an area that has little agricultural success or other enterprise, they wanted to find a way for the locals to make a decent living.  The local indigenous livelihoods provided them with the answer they needed.

Today the organization provides training, supplies, marketing and business support for the people, in basket weaving and some small agricultural projects.  There are 225 weavers currently involved (81% are women) earning a decent wage for their skills.

We spoke to some of the weavers who were happy to be able to have a steady income at last to pay for their children’s education and health care needs from these earnings.

As I left there with my beautifully woven bright green handbag, I felt such a strong connection to the weavers through the object.  It had taken two days to weave the bag, and had passed through many sets of hands, each with their own skill – pattern design, dying, weaving and so forth.  Making a Fair Trade choice gives dignity back to the world’s workers and as I have often heard the most important thing about work is that it is done by a human being.  My bag is unique and special and gives the true meaning to the “Work of Human Hands.”

Please check out www.crs.faritradre.org to learn more about Fair Trade or to buy goods from these weavers or from many other Fair Trade projects worldwide.

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2 Responses to “Trade Aid, A Fair Trade Association of Basket Weavers”

  1. Jacqueline DeCarlo Says:

    It is so great to read about the FOJ trip to West Africa. I’ve been fortunate to visit CRS programming in both Burkina and Ghana and know how inspiring the people and projects there are. If you want to learn more about how CRS connects our work overseas with opportunities to promote economic justice at home, please visit our Fair Trade website
    at http://www.crsfairtrade.org

  2. Joanne Kratz Says:

    What a great opportunity! I will be certain to push the Ghana Trade Aid baskets at the Fair trade events this Fall. Sinead, I love the shirt.
    Joanne

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