The Bangladesh tragedy (which is now reporting more than 800 dead and 2,500 people rescued alive) has us all questioning what we buy, who produced it and what kind of businesses we are supporting. Celebrating Mother’s Day and World Fair Trade Day on the same weekend has never been more appropriate.
Mothers have a reputation of appreciating (almost) any Mother’s Day present, but this year they may look at their gifts at little differently. What might have been considered a cute gift a few weeks ago will very likely inspire questions and perhaps even sadness. Who made the gift? How were they treated? Thoughts will go to the many mothers who were lost and who lost their children and spouses in the now famous garment factory collapse.
A Fair Trade gift, on the other hand, will be truly appreciated by moms, and by workers in developing countries. The fact that Mother’s Day and World Fair Trade Day are celebrated on the same weekend makes giving Fair Trade even more meaningful.
On the second Saturday in May, the day before Mother’s Day, people here and around the world marched in parades and attended celebrations in honour of World Fair Trade Day. In developing countries, they celebrated the longest and loudest. For them, Fair Trade is not just a nice theory, it is life-changing. Unlike working in a dangerous conventional factory for very little money, working in a Fair Trade workshop means being paid fairly and being treated with dignity and respect – just as we expect to be treated.
Mothers often play a large role in teaching children how to treat others. Showing our appreciation for all they have taught us and what they mean to us with a Fair Trade gift (i.e. jewelry, accessories, chocolate, flowers) will speak volumes, and will have many positive effects. Mothers will be thrilled with the thoughtfulness of the gift, and the fact that the giver is concerned with worker rights; the people who made the gift will have been paid and treated fairly; and retailers will hear consumers’ message – that the people who produce what we buy should be treated fairly!
Celebrating Mother’s Day and World Fair Trade Day has never felt more right.