Some handcrafted baskets and pots made by artisans in El Salvador and Sri Lanka can be found in Walmart. But at the 24th annual Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale in Vineland, ON, lovers of traditional African musical instruments, toys, baskets and rugs can purchase these rare, unique items and be assured that the artisans are being given a fair share of the profits. Three Mennonite churches in Vineland have teamed up to host the four-day sale, which will be held at Vineland United Mennonite Church from Nov. 3 to 6. All proceeds go to crafters in Africa, Asia and Latin America who have partnered with Ten Thousand Villages, the oldest and largest fair trade organisation in North America. The Vineland festival is one of the largest of its kind in Canada. "It just makes people aware of the fair trade idea," said festival co-organiser, Liz Koop."Some of these items you can buy in stores at a much cheaper price, but we know the products that we sell are providing a fair wage to people less fortunate than we are. The money is used for educating their kids, for health, for building wells - whatever the community uses their funds for."
The sale also gives lovers of unique crafts a chance to come out and peruse thousands of pieces of jewellery, linens and other crafts from around the globe, she said.
Over the last 23 years, the sale has generated more than $1 million in sales, which was returned to developing countries.