Greetings from Thailand. I am here on a working vacation but it wasn’t going to be about Fair Trade. My niece lives here and we are working on a few book projects together. She is a writer and is helping me do some writing.
When I got here I remembered that several people on the Sharing the Dream board suggested that maybe it would be good to have some fair trade products from other countries that are different than our Guatemalan products.
I joined a digital women’s Chiang Mai nomads group and asked about fair trade. I didn’t think I would get much response. I did however, I heard about three groups so I decided to check them out. I have visited all of them and it has been really interesting. All three projects work with refugees from Myanmar (formerly Burma). These refugee camps are located in the Northern part of Thailand. Some of these camps have been there for 30 years, and some of the people have lived there that long. The people in the camps cannot leave and have no chance at earning a living. They almost completely rely on donations from NGO’s (non-government organizations). The fair trade groups I met with are working with people in these camps to continue their tradition of back strap weaving and helping them make items that will sell in the international market. Thus helping them to have some income.
I learned about one group that works with caladium fiber to make cloth that they use for bags and journals. These are really quite interesting. Another group that I am interested in dyes cotton and weaves some patterns that are different than our Guatemalan weavers. There is also a group that stamps different patterns on woven fabric.
I would like to show you some of the products and see what you think. Let’s have coffee Saturday Jan. 27th at the Sharing the Dream store at 10 AM. I will share some photos, and talk about the products. By then they might be priced so that you could even buy something new and different.
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.