Everyone loves a good story, and here at EthicalSuperstore we love telling you about some of the amazing producers, cooperatives and suppliers that we work with. So make yourself a Fairtrade cuppa, sit back and read the inspiring story of Sarale and her involvement in Zameen project in India.
Sarale is amazing; she is a 31 year old mother of one who has been a cotton farmer in Adilabad, India for five years. Things have been tough for her; like lots of her friends she has found herself having to work the land after her husband migrated to the city to find work. This has left Sarale and her friends feeling isolated and forced into taking on the extra responsibility of farming at the same time as still caring for their children and home. Women in India aren’t allowed to own land which also makes trying to been seen as equals to male cotton farmers very difficult. All of these things add up leaving her feeling disempowered and facing a battle to be able to care for herself and her child.
Back when Sarale was 15 she married a local farmer and had a son. Like many of us, looking after her son became priority, meaning that Sarale had to stop school and couldn’t get a job. Tragically her husband died, but following her remarriage Sarale was able to go back to school and joined the Velugu Project, a community action group campaigning to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor. While having a key role in the project she was put in contact with Zameen Organic, a Fairtrade certified farming group that grows all the cotton for our brilliant Pants to Poverty range.
Sarale is now one of over 5000 farmers across India who grow cotton that Zameen Organic supplies to Pants to Poverty. This brilliant Co-operative, which is owned by its members, has helped thousands of people get out of the exploitation and poverty that is so common in the developing world. Not only do people like Sarale get a fair price for their crop but they are also taught how to farm more sustainably and organically. Which is both good news for them (they now don’t have to buy lots of expensive fertilizers) and the planet. And it gets even better! Now that they are earning a fair price for their cotton (up to three times as much as before) they are able to help improve the communities they live in by funding things like water wells, schools and doctors.
The feel good atmosphere generated by Zameen Organic has helped communities that were once sadly famous for having a very high suicide rate (7 a day for 15 years) completely turn around, so that now there are no suicides at all. Brilliant!
Sarale and others like her can now enjoy life. Life may still be difficult at times but the effort is now so much more worthwhile when they know that they are getting a fair price and the respect and support they deserve. Feels good doesn’t it? Well the great news is that it can get even better! There are still 1000’s more people who need to see their lives changed through Fairtrade. All you have to do is show your support by buying a funky pair of Pants to Poverty pants. You can then strut your stuff knowing that you are helping to support Sarale, 1000’s like her and the communities they live in farm their way out of poverty.
Original photography kindly supplied by Pants to Poverty.