The African sun was shining brightly as we drove along a dusty road in a remote area of Botswana. I was on safari with my husband and our guide was taking us to a village nestled deep in the bush. As we came up to the village, the first thing that grabbed my attention was a woman sitting on the ground beside the road crafting something that I couldn’t quite make out. As we got closer, I could see the beautiful hand woven baskets that were displayed on the ground around her and that she was making a necklace out of a black and red seed and ostrich shell beads that she had carved. The bold colors of the necklace were stunning and, lucky me, she was just finishing it up! My excitement for my new necklace was slightly dampened though when I realized this was probably going to be her only sale for the day, and maybe even longer. She relied on tourists for her sales and we were far and few between.
As we walked around the village the story of this woman’s life revealed itself. She lived in a thatch roofed hut with no running water or electricity. There wasn’t a school nearby so she had sent her older children to live with relatives so they could get an education. She was incredibly talented and hard-working, but there simply weren’t opportunities available for to lift herself out of poverty.
On that dusty road, wearing my new red necklace, I decided I had to do something and the idea for Simply Fair was born – a company to connect women around the world through beautiful jewelry that’s fairly made.
Simply Fair is committed to empowering women around the world through living wage employment. We follow fair trade principles to ensure all of our artisan partners are being paid fairly, that they work in clean and safe conditions, and that there is never any child labor used.
I am super excited that over the past year, in addition to Botswana, we have been able to partner with artisans in India, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic to make gorgeous earrings, necklaces, and bracelets! Each of our artisan groups has a unique story, and it’s important to us to incorporate those unique cultural aspects in our designs while still creating contemporary pieces you’ll love.
For our artisan partners, making jewelry for Simply Fair opens up a new world of opportunities. They are able to provide for their families and send their children to school. Often times, earning an income is what gives them a voice in their family and community. This is especially true in India, which ranks 130 out of 188 countries on the worldwide Gender Inequality Index developed by the United Nations Development Program. Working with Simply Fair is not just about having a job, it’s about creating a brighter future for themselves and their families.
Each time you make a fair trade purchase you are helping to open up these opportunities for artisans around the world. You are showing women that you value them and their work.
Simply Fair: http://livesimplyfair.com/
artisan groups: http://livesimplyfair.com/our-artisans/
Gender Inequality Index: http://hdr.undp.org/en/composite/GII