If you haven’t seen the Jesus’ Economy t-shirt, you’re missing out. Not only is it a great t-shirt, available in a few colors and styles, but it also embodies the spirit of the Jesus’ Economy Fair Trade model.
Initial designs for this product were done by the Jesus’ Economy creative team, KarBel Multimedia, in the United States. Jesus’ Economy then developed the design with the owner of Ugandan RWA Group, John Nyarwa (pictured here). Jesus’ Economy worked and communicated directly with John to ensure that each step of the process was handled with fair trade standards in mind. This effort was global in scale, all for the sake of making the world a better place, one job at a time.
Jesus’ Economy works with dozens of artisans to promote and sell their products on the western market. See more products in our Fair Trade Shop!
Christella, pictured here, saw the potential of global commerce to lift her community in Haiti out of poverty. She was one of the first artisans who joined the 2nd Story Goods' training school. Now, with the business, craft, and mentorship skills she has learned, she leads jewelry making for the community, which allows her to supplement her income, participate in job creation, and help support community growth.
2nd Story Goods is a partner of Jesus’ Economy that co-labors with Haitian men and women to create wonderful products and revitalize their community. The artisans trained by 2nd Story Goods now have sustainable incomes and are making strides to break the cyclical poverty many were born into.
It is 2nd Story Goods' vision to help people move from poverty to abundance through education, creativity, and practical life experiences.
Shopping Fair Trade is pretty awesome. Consider that you can buy something you need (or just want) while simultaneously providing fair profit, supporting fair working conditions, and helping boost an impoverished economy. Not to mention, the profit the artisans make helps them provide food, housing, clothing, and education for themselves and their families plus, it enables them to grow their business.
But sometimes it's hard to find what you're looking for or maybe you aren't looking for anything specific, you're just looking to support a certain country. Whatever your reason for wanting to buy from or support a certain country, we can help you with that. With our special "Shop by Country" feature, you can see the products artisans from specific countries make.
You can also navigate by country at any point in our Fair Trade Shop by using the bottom left of the Sidebar, where there is a "Country" sort menu. On the mobile experience of JesusEconomy.org, this same menu is either a submenu on the left or located at the top of the page.
You can choose from Guatemala, Haiti, Nepal, Kenya, and more! So what are you waiting for? Create jobs around the world: Shop by country.
Today is World Fair Trade Day, when people around the world come together to support products that lift people out of poverty. In honor of World Fair Trade Day, here are four ways that fair trade is a Christian value. But before we jump in, you may be wondering, what makes a product "fair trade"?
The term “Fair Trade” describes an economic exchange in which laborers receive a fair living wage. The basic goal of fair trade is to create a more just and equitable world, where people are paid wages that adequately provide for their needs and are commensurate with their labor.
Fair trade matters for the sake of our world. And it matters for Christianity—here are the four primary reasons why all Christians should support fair trade.
The majority of what we purchase in the U.S. is based on unjust economic exchanges. The exploitation of labor in developing nations reduces the costs we pay here in the U.S. And as such, a large portion of clothing manufactures, and producers of other items, aim to pay people the smallest amount possible. This is a practice that we as Christians should oppose—not just with our words, but also with our wallets.
While it is not possible yet to buy everything you need from a fair trade manufacturer, there are many fair trade options. One day, God willing, we will be able to buy everything we need at fair trade wages and fair trade will be the norm.
Fair trade represents justice and equality. And justice and equality are key tenants of Christianity. On this point, the prophets especially come to mind. Over and over again the prophets call us to live the principles of justice, mercy, and humility (e.g., Micah 6:6–8). Near the beginning of the book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah records God saying:
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16–17 ESV).
We should plead the widow’s cause by buying products that empower women. We should learn to do good by understanding the implications of our purchases. We should live the principles of justice. If we desire justice, then we should make justice a priority when it comes to our purchases. If we believe in equality, then we should back that with our entire lifestyles.
Work is central to who we are. It was a major part of the lives of the apostles and something they advocated for (e.g., Acts 18:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). But work is not an option for some—they lack the opportunity. And where work is available, it is not a fair exchange. We can change that through creating fair trade jobs.
If done right, fair trade is one way to change lives through business. Fair trade products are purchased at a price that allows for people to overcome poverty. Fair trade creates safe, sustainable, and profitable jobs. It also provides high quality products for people around the world to use and enjoy.
If Jesus was to create an economy, it would be based on love and self-sacrifice. But fair trade isn’t even asking for self-sacrifice; it’s asking that we simply respect people—that we show them the dignity of being paid what their work is worth.
Fair trade represents life transformation for impoverished artisans. It represents a chance for their dreams to become real. It means their families having sustainable incomes and real money coming into their economies.
Jesus envisioned a world where we truly loved our neighbors (Mark 12:31). Fair trade is a way for us to show his love. It’s a way to live what we believe.*
*This article is adapted from my earlier article, "Why Fair Trade Matters to Christianity." The artisan featured above, Benson, is a living example of why fair trade matters: Read Benson's fair trade story.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 ESV).
Happy Earth Day! Today is for celebrating the beauty of all God created. Look around you. Do you see these trees and canyons and oceans and stars that surround us and declare God’s glory (Psalm 19:1)? We are meant to enjoy this earth and care for it.
Enjoying creation is part of what God commanded humankind in the Garden of Eden. But what he said was bigger than just enjoying the Earth.
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28 ESV).
The other part of enjoying creation is taking care of it. The type of "dominion" Genesis has in mind is stewardship or care taking. Taking care of our planet is our mandate as humans. We have this absolutely beautiful planet, and we get to nurture it and help it thrive. It's awesome that God has trusted us with this Earth.
I know we have a lot to worry about, and I know the weight of all the pain the world is feeling right now makes it difficult to act, but it’s so important. It seems like the Earth is dying a little more every day and it’s getting out of control—it’s easy to be cynical about all of it. And we all realize that a huge component of environmental decay is consumerism and pollution. We all know we can’t turn it around in a day or by ourselves. But we can do something together.
Let’s start small, start talking, start walking, start acting, and start loving the Earth how it deserves to be loved.
Several years ago, the local parish of the Catholic Church in Gisagara District, a southern province in Rwanda, chose several vulnerable children to participate in a year-long program to learn how to basket-weave and in turn provide for themselves and their families. Each of the participants were orphans who were also charged with taking care of their younger siblings and/or elders. Among these children were Sixbert, Media, and Clementine (pictured above).
When their training was complete, and now that they were adults, the three friends decided to join their skills together to build a business. They formed the Amizero Cooperative and are now part of Azizi Life, a partner of Jesus’ Economy. Azizi Life, a fair trade organization dedicated to working with artisans who receive fair wages for their labor, represents 25 independent artisan groups throughout Rwanda. The income the creators earn helps them maintain their businesses and provide for their families, including now having access to medical insurance, school supplies, healthier foods, and financial independence. Azizi Life is transforming Rwandan communities through artists like Sixbert, Media, and Clementine.
A few years ago, Sixbert and Media got married, and now they are building a family. With the money they have earned from their business, they have been able to construct a home with electricity and water for their family, and Clementine has been able to buy land locally.
Sixbert, Media, and Clementine’s specialty is creating home goods from hand twisted banana twine. Leaves and stalks of banana trees are a renewable resource in Rwanda, and if they are woven skillfully, the products will be sturdy and last for many years.
Together Sixbert, Media, and Clementine are running a successful business, and it is their togetherness and their craft that is leading them toward amizero: hope.
Meet Laxmi Tara, one of the artisans who creates gorgeous scarves, shawls, and ponchos with the Cheppu from Himalaya cooperative in Nepal. Laxmi Tara is from the small village of Tokha on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley.
She’s very young—still in her early 20’s (she doesn’t know her actual age because birthdays are not traditionally celebrated in Nepal)—but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream of starting a business.
She went to Cheppu of Himalaya—a Jesus' Economy fair trade partner—for a microloan to open her own tailoring shop. Now she has set up her own business, and has already been very successful in her local village. Laxmi Tara’s craftsmanship is spectacular, and the scarves she makes showcase the beauty of Nepalese culture and landscape.
Cheppu’s products are made to honor Nepalese tradition and the local environment. The artisans use recycled and renewable materials whenever possible to create their pieces.
October is Fair Trade Month, and that means now is the perfect time to learn about fair trade. Whether you shop fair trade exclusively, or know nothing about it at all, this is the place to be. Here are 5 things to know about shopping fair trade from Jesus’ Economy.
Fair trade is a way of exchanging goods for fair compensation. This means that people who make products are paid the correct amount of money for the work they’ve completed. In many of the countries Jesus’ Economy has partners in, being paid justly isn’t a normal thing. But when people aren’t paid fairly for the work they’ve done, their whole family suffers. It becomes harder to pay for food, shelter, and education, and the cycle of poverty continues.
When artisans are able to sell their products fairly, their individual finances improve. When many people in a community experience improved personal economy, their community also sees an improvement. Money is no longer just changing hands within the community, it is now coming in on a larger scale and coming from other countries. And when communities grow economically, so does the world economy.
Jesus’ Economy partners with cooperatives around the world that create products to sell internationally. These products are sold for the fair amount of money, and the artisans who’ve made the products are better able to support their families. With more money coming in, men and women can pay for food and shelter, and even for their children to go to school. When their children go to school, the future becomes brighter for everyone.
International fair trade products are a great way to experience culture from around the world. Many of the cooperatives we partner with incorporate traditional designs into their products to celebrate their heritage.
The scarves from Nepal, inspired by traditional nepalese fashion, are just one of many wonderful products that are beautiful, practical, and honor the country they come from.
All of the aprons from Guatemala have colors and patterns that incorporate traditional Mayan design, helping to inspire you while you cook.
The artisans we work with responsibly use sustainable materials from around their communities. 2nd Story Goods uses recycled aluminum to create pendants for jewelry, sweet grass to weave baskets, and locally sourced goat leather to cover journals. Many retail clothing and jewelry makers use chemical dyes and non-renewable materials, but these artisans are creating goods that love the earth and eliminate waste.
There is a real connection to be made when you shop fair trade. When you wear a scarf from Haiti, you can pray for the hands that made it and know that your purchase is helping a family gain financial stability. When you carry a goat leather wallet, you know that it was made by people who are working hard to create hope for themselves.
This October, think about shopping fair trade. And with Christmas coming up, maybe you can get ahead on some gift buying!
This post was previously published under the title "5 Things to Know about Fair Trade."
You hear from us often, but we also want to hear from YOU.
We want to know how you feel about the products you’ve purchased from the Fair Trade Shop. We want to know if your purchases are working out well for you, or if you’re having issues. So leave a review and let us know!
Reviews are also helpful in letting other shoppers know what they’re looking at. Having the product in your hands is different then seeing a photo on a screen, so when you share your input on a product, you’re helping positively grow the experience of shopping at Jesus’ Economy for other buyers.
Feedback is a helpful resource for us, and the more you tell us, the more we know how to help you find what you need. We care about what YOU think, so let us know!
In Terrier Rouge, a small farming community in northern Haiti, a group of teenage girls meets to make greeting cards. These cards are sold for fair wages, and the girls are able to save money for education and pursuing their dreams through their partnership with Woven Grace, a partner of Jesus’ Economy.
The Terrier Rouge Teens attend St. Barthelemy on US scholarships, but if they want to pursue jobs or further education after graduation, they have no options. There are no jobs in Terrier Rouge and no means to seek employment in Cap-Haitien, which is almost an hour away. The Woven Grace Fair Trade program provides these girls with a way to earn an income, save money for the future, and pursue their dreams.
Now, with the money they earn selling cards, these ladies have the opportunity to save money for the chance to break the cycle of poverty and give themselves a more hopeful future.