International Mission Gift Shop, a Fair Trade Shop

For more than 20 years, the International Mission Gift Shop of the First Congregational Church of Litchfield has offered unique, handmade products made by skilled artisans from 35-40 developing countries and poverty pockets around the world. Profits from the shop go to increase the Missions budget of the church.

Why Fair Trade?

According to the International Fair Trade Association, “Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade…”

Fair Trade also means

  • Fair wages and decent working conditions in a local context
  • Environmentally sensitive choices of raw materials and production processes are encouraged – increasingly products use recycled materials
  • Women’s rights are promoted
  • Children are enabled to attend school
  • Long-term partnerships between producers and purchasers
  • Financial commitments are honored even when violence, political unrest, or weather, earthquakes or other disruptions delay on-time fulfillment of an order

Where are we?

Pilgrim house at the First Congregational Church. Enter from the parking lot behind the church – first door on the left as you enter.

Hours – 2016

March 17 – November 20
Thursday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

November 25 – December 24
Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

December 29 – December 31
Thursday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

We close after December 31 –  will reopen in March 2017.

 

One of the missions supported by the International Mission Gift Shop is Nepal Paper Scholarship.

Nepal Paper Scholarships

Human trafficking is a prevalent problem in Nepal. When promised a job in a wealthier country, low-income and uneducated families give up their daughters in hopes they will receive more income and a better life. Instead, traffickers transport the women into forced labor or brothels in Indian cities, where they become sex slaves and can become infected with HIV/AIDS. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepali girls are trafficked every year across the border into India, where an estimated 200,000 Nepali women are sex workers.

SERRV’s partner for 8 years, Get Paper Industry (GPI), and their sister social welfare organization General Welfare Pratisthan (GWP), have created an anti-trafficking program that is working hard to bring an end to these horrific numbers. Focusing on the marginalized and vulnerable Tamang and Mager castes in a rural district of Nepal where trafficking is rampant, the program visits families and communities to bring awareness to the risk and realities of trafficking. So far, with support from SERRV, the program has reached more than 25,000 girls and their parents in this district.

To tackle the core of the problem, however, awareness alone is not enough. That’s why the program also focuses on educating women and fighting high illiteracy rates in these communities. Through their “Send your daughter to school” campaign, GPI and GWP support 125 scholarships a year for girls from low-income families to attend school. These families have come to understand how an education will lead to a better future for their daughters.

You can donate directly to the Get Paper Industry Anti-trafficking program at www.serrv.org/GPI.

Attributed to SERRV International Winter 2012 newsletter.