Page 38 - SilverKris September 2014

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E S S E N T I A L S
eco-watch
38 | SILVERKRIS.COM
BLOOMBAGS, CAMBODIA
At her workshop in SiemReap,
Singaporean expat Diana Saw
hires single mothers to craft
bags and purses from recycled
rice and fish feed sacks (left),
and magazines. These are then
sold at Bloom shops in the
country. Most importantly, the
workers at BloomBags receive
a fair wage, and enjoy benefits
such as paid medical leave.
“With a regular income, the
women are able to send their
children to school and plan for
the future,” Saw explains.
bloomcambodia.com
BORDERLINE COLLECTIVE,
THAILAND
This women’s collective located
at the Thai-Burma border
town of Mae Sot is not just a
repository for the art, crafts
and clothing produced by
Burmese migrant and refugee
groups. It also preserves their
culture, which was in danger of
being lost when they fled their
countries. Today, the co-op
represents a range of women’s
groups and community-based
organisations fromBurmese
ethnic groups including Chin,
Shan and Karen. With its shop,
gallery and teahouse offering
Burmese cooking lessons
(bottom left), it’s an oasis where
visitors can learn about the
different cultures.
borderlinecollective.org
ALTER ECO, PERU
Alter Eco works with small-
scale farmers in Latin America,
Africa and Asia to establish
organic farming practices,
preserve heirloom grains and
replenish degraded land. The
produce – like quinoa from
Bolivia (main picture), rice and
chocolates – is then sold on
their website. One supplier, a
cooperative in the Peruvian
Amazon, was established
as part of a programme to
substitute illegal plantations
with alternative crops. Today,
the co-op’s 2,000 farmers
plant native trees beside
their cacao plants as part of an
intensive reforestation plan. The
result is restored biodiversity,
contribution to climate change
mitigation, and some of the
tastiest chocolate around.
alterecofoods.com
KISAC FAIR TRADE LIMITED,
KENYA
The landscape around Kisii
in western Kenya is paved
with soapstone – a type of
metamorphic rock – that’s
helping economically
disadvantaged local communities
make a livelihood. Members
of such communities mine,
carve, decorate and polish
the sandstone, producing
ornaments and household items
like crockery, sculptures and
candlesticks. These are then
sold on their website, and profits
from the sales are shared among
all members of the production
chain. Kisac also donates five per
cent of the profits to community
projects in the Kisii area.
kisac.co.ke
Fair buys
Co-ops in developing countries are helping their
members achieve sufficiency and sustainability
through fair trade.
BY CATHERINE MARSHALL
PHOTOS
COURTESY ALTER ECO / BORDERLINE COLLECTIVE / MATHEW SCOTT