Fair Trade in Action – My Visit to Tara Projects

India is a remarkable country. After only a three week visit I’m hardly qualified to say that I know it well, but during my trip I certainly got a wonderful impression of the place, the people and the varied and colourful histories of the different areas.

It’s a country of extreme contrasts: from dry and arid deserts to humid jungles and back waters, but I think the starkest contrast is that of the way that people have, and still do live. With World Fair Trade Day around the corner, it’s a good time to recognise and reflect upon these contrasts, and give extra recognition and a round of applause to the people who are working towards making a difference.

Upon my arrival in Delhi, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the people behind Tara Projects, a long established Fair Trade organisation which is helping to make a difference for the people involved in their programmes. Having never visited a workshop of this kind before I was really excited to be able to visit and discover more of what goes on behind the scenes, and meet the driving forces behind the widespread good work that this organisation achieves.

The Tara Projects head office is located on an industrial estate not altogether unlike the site of our own EthicalSuperstore HQ, and the people there immediately made me feel warmly welcomed and very at home. After a lightening tour of the onsite workshops and administrative area, we jumped in a waiting vehicle and headed out of central Delhi, pleased to be able to visit one of the Tara Projects projects, where Fair Trade stops being an ideology and becomes a means of supporting families and positively impacting upon a community.

The afternoon we spent in this relocated slum was a real eye-opener. The women who work in the Tara jewellery making project there are trained and supported in a country which is so often geared towards men getting ahead – they get a regular and sustainable wage, are provided with medical care and have access to savings and borrowing schemes amongst numerous other benefits. They really did consider themselves the lucky ones to be able to participate in such a scheme which was wonderful to see.

Tara Projects does fantastic work with that particular scheme as well coordinating over 200 others, and it is so positive to witness people having access to such support. However it shouldn’t just be the minority who are ‘the lucky ones’.

Whether it’s Fair Trade gifts and jewellery from Tara Projects, or Fairtrade labelled tea, coffee or Divine chocolate which floats your boat, with World Fair Trade Day being marked this weekend, there’s no better time to shout about it.

My visit to Tara Projects really opened my eyes to exactly how much of a positive impact Fair Trade has upon the communities who have the opportunity to get involved. It made even more enthusiastic than ever in supporting enterprises such as Tara, and hopefully through events such a World Fair Trade Day, more people will get involved, and more lives will be touched.

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