A core principle of Fair Trade is establishing long-term relationships between buyers and makers. This means that artisans and producers not only have a seat at the negotiation table to determine how much they are paid for their goods; it also means that a concerted effort is made to support economic sustainability in communities in developing countries around the world. This happens when Fair Trade organizations, like Global Gifts, commit to work with artisan cooperatives to assist with marketing and (when needed) improvement upon products.
The 30-year relationship between the organization Ganesh Himal Trading and the Bhaktapur Women’s Craft Paper artisan group is a wonderful example of this Fair Trade principle in action.
The Bhaktapur Craft Paper (BCP) project, based in Nepal, was initiated as a worker-owned cooperative by UNICEF. In 1984, Ganesh Himal Trading was one of the first independent buyers of handmade paper products produced by the artisans of BCP. Ganesh Himal stuck by as the artisans faced organizational challenges and helped support the formation of Bhaktapur Women Craft Paper (BWCP) in 2012, made up of many of the women involved with the BCP. Instead of merely looking for a lower-priced paper product from another source, Ganesh Himal stayed with artisans they’d formed a working relationship with and helped them create economically sustainable jobs with continued skills training for the well-being of women, their families, and the communities in which they live.
Continuing to practice paper-making traditions that have been used in Nepal for over a thousand years, BWCP artisans use the bark of the Daphne plant to make stationary products, like this beautiful journal available at Global Gifts. Natural materials for this journal are sustainably grown and the paper is made by hand. This journal with a rich history is sized for use as a portable sketchbook or perfect for recording notes, thoughts, and creative writing.