Monday, July 14, 2014

Fair Trade Bath & Body Products from around the World

From their rich Shea Butter (made of 100% shea unlike any other product available in North America!) to fragrant soaps and luxurious robes, Ten Thousand Villages brings spa treasures from around the world to the North American market.

Operating with the mission to create income-earning opportunities for artisans in developing countries, Ten Thousand Villages builds long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income, and provides them with opportunities to pay for food, education, healthcare, housing and more.

Shea Butter Cream ($20.00)
Handmade in Ghana

Ghanaians use shea butter for a wide variety of purposes, including cooking, moisturizing and as an anti-inflammatory. Artisans in Accra, Ghana, source this shea butter locally. It is then hand-processed by two other groups that harvest nuts from shea trees. In addition to the harvesting and processing of shea butter, and the production of the cream itself, this product provides work for fairly paid artisans who produce the ceramic container and the recycled glass beads used for decoration. The artisans use traditional Ghanaian tools and methods, and the highest quality materials available, including one-of-a-kind beads and unique scents.

Sales of this item from Ten Thousand Villages benefit Ele Agbe, which employs some 50 artisans, all young adults and most of them women. The organization also offers training programs for under-educated youth. At Ele Agbe, artisans pass on their skills to younger generations, conducting workshops for school groups and accepting apprentices from throughout Ghana.

Mellow Lemon Soap ($9.00)
Handmade in Israel

Fresh, yet comforting this rich olive oil soap scented with lemon is created by Sindyanna of Galilee, a group of Arab and Jewish women working together to provide equal opportunities in development and employment. Led by women striving for social change, Sindyanna works with the Arab population in the Galilee region of northern Israel, as well as with olive growers and artisans in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Sindyanna combines commercial activity with work in the community, thereby enhancing Arab women's empowerment while developing the olive industry. The organization stresses values such as land preservation, environmental considerations and commerce using the principle of fair trade. Sindyanna symbolizes a unique cooperation between Arabs and Jews, striving to strengthen the economy of the Arab Palestinian population, both in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. Sales of this item from Ten Thousand Villages benefit Sindyanna of Galilee

Rosemary Mint Soap ($9.00)
Handmade in Ghana

Refreshing shea butter soap features the stimulating scent of rosemary and mint. The all-natural ingredients also include coconut and olive oils. The "adinkra" double heart stamped on each bar of soap symbolizes nature's bounty and sustenance of life.

Sales of this item from Ten Thousand Villages benefit All Pure Nature Ventures, an enterprise producing and marketing personal care products made from shea butter, an indigenous Ghanaian natural resource for body care. Founder Gladys Commey has established a development project in the northern region of Ghana in which a group of women harvest and process the shea nuts for butter. Sale of their raw shea butter provides a valuable source of income for the producers in the north. For the staff in Accra, employment with All Pure Nature also provides health benefits and assistance with their education fees.

Natural Hemp Washcloth ($10.00)
Handmade in Bangladesh

Hemp fiber, with an ancient history of use around the world, is back in fashion for its strength and quality. Bangladeshi artisans harvest, spin and knit natural hemp fiber to create this earth-friendly washcloth.

Sales of this item from Ten Thousand Villages benefit Bagdha Enterprises, which is headed by an all-women management committee and provides employment for rural Bangladeshi women. Many families depend solely on craft income to support themselves. Benefits to producers include medical assistance and a producer development fund. From a remote village with few resources and women with no education or employment experience, Bagdha has transformed the lives of these women artisans, their families and community.

Gentle Lavender Soap ($5.00)
Handmade in India

The gentle scent of lavender in a handmade vegetable oil soap. From Palam Rural Centre in Tamil Nadu, India. All our soaps made in India use palm oil grown on local plantations. This palm oil provides work to local farmers and does not contribute to deforestation.

Sales of this item from Ten Thousand Villages benefit Palam Rural Centre (People's Association for Leather and Allied Manufacturing), which offers employment opportunities to people of the marginalized Harijan community in a village in Tamil Nadu region, southeastern India. In the Tamil language, Palam also means "bridge." Palam Rural Centre seeks to build a "bridge" to the markets of the rest of the world. With money from product sales, Palam has purchased land and homes for artisans (ownership traditionally unavailable to lower castes) and built a school for artisans' children. Other artisan benefits include health care and retirement pensions. Palam artisans see education of their children as the key to hope and change. Through this work, Palam Rural Centre is providing dignity and security to artisans and helping to break down caste walls in society.

Flowering Vines Robe ($54.00)
Handmade in India

This handmade, block-print robe features a labor-intensive method of hand-printing fabric. The artisans imprint the cloth with a wooden block featuring a hand-carved design, and a guide or registration point to dovetail both designs and colors. The printer moves from left to right, dipping the design block into the dye and stamping it onto the cloth. This is repeated to cover the entire cloth with the intended design and colors.

Sales of this item from Ten Thousand Villages benefit Aravali, a partner company supporting the work of close to 150 artisans in the Jaipur area.

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