To mark International Women’s Day (8 March), Traidcraft the UK’s leading fair trade organisation, is appealing for donations to help empower women in the developing world.
Traidcraft’s ‘Fair Necessities’ appeal, the charity’s biggest ever fundraising campaign to date, aims to help smallholder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries escape poverty and build better lives.
Many of these farmers are women who, prior to working with Traidcraft, suffered isolation and lived in extreme poverty.
Traidcraft works hand-in-hand with women in countries like Bangladesh to provide training in roles that are traditionally considered as masculine such as farming. Women are taught more effective cultivation techniques and better business practices; this helps them grow more crops, earn more money and eat more. With this farming knowledge also comes a freedom and feeling of self-empowerment previously out of reach.
Larry Bush, Marketing Director at Traidcraft, said: “International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to highlight the continued challenges faced by women and girls – at home and abroad. During a very recent trip to Bangladesh, we met many women whose lives have been transformed by the continued support of Traidcraft, made possible by donations from the British public.
“Where once these women lived in isolation, now they are part of a community of skilled farmers earning a living and providing for their family. The farming skills we teach not only put food on the table, they change lives.
“A recent survey conducted on behalf of Traidcraft found that one in five UK women listed their lipstick as a vital part of their daily routine. By donating even just the cost of a lipstick to our Fair Necessities appeal this International Women’s Day you can help make a real and lasting difference to the lives of women in countries such as Bangladesh.”
One such farmer, who has worked with Traidcraft, is Fatema Akter who lives in rural Bangladesh. Fatema said: “After my marriage, my husband did not allow me to go outside. Now, a change has come. After two and a half years of marriage, I am allowed to go out and attend the community farming meetings.
“My husband understands that this helps to increase our income. I get to learn about vaccines for cows and poultry as well as learning about pesticides for the paddy fields. We come to the meeting to talk – then we return home and inform others about our discussion.”
Feroz Ahmed, who is Traidcraft’s senior project manager in Bangladesh and works closely with Fatema, commented: “We work with more than 4,000 women here and after joining our project they are now contributing to income generation and the decision making process in the family.
“Previously these women could not manage their basic needs; their health, their children’s education, their electricity. They were also restricted in terms of their mobility.”
The Fair Necessities appeal is running until April 3rd, with the UK government matching every pound donated through the UK Aid Match scheme, meaning public support of the appeal will go twice as far.
International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, said: “Traidcraft’s Fair Necessities Appeal will help smallholder farmers around the world support themselves to escape poverty. By matching public donations to the appeal pound-for-pound, we can give isolated farming households in Bangladesh the skills, equipment and services they need to boost their incomes, improving the quality of life of thousands of people for good.”
You can donate to the appeal by visiting www.traidcraft.co.uk/donate-now or text ‘DOUBLE’ to 70500 from your mobile phone to donate £5. You can watch a short film about Fatema and her friends below.