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Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow – Fairtrade Fortnight Blog

We asked “How do you Go Further for Fairtrade and Change the World?” This is Allison Davies‘, from Danusha Beads answer:


There’s a saying that mighty oaks from little acorns grow. I’m not sure that they have oak trees in Nepal, though there are plenty of forests. 2012 was definitely a year of growth for Danusha in which we became a fully fledged social enterprise, took on some new fair trade outlets and trained more Nepali women in jewellery making. Just like an oak tree we’re slowly growing.


I remember the first time I stepped into the workshop at Lalgadh Leprosy Services centre. It was an incredibly moving experience as I watched women whose fingers had been lost to nerve damage manipulate stones and thread to make objects of beauty.


At that time I was working for another charity, but I really wanted to get involved with Danusha so was delighted when Sue Lavender offered me the chance to get onboard along with another friend, Katy Barr. As well as training in jewellery making we provide adult literacy lessons, decent wages, good food, basic health and hygiene education and we’ve sponsored compost toilets too – very important in the fight against pollution of drinking water.


My Danusha experience has been life changing for me. I think far more carefully about what I buy and opt for Fairtrade whenever possible. Take a moment to look around. What can you see? If you’re reading this I guess there’s a computer, phone or tablet not too far away. Imagine all the people involved in making it. It’s impossible to know just how many pairs of hands it’s been through on its journey to your home, but it’s a fair bet there’s been some exploitation along the way. I’m not saying ‘don’t have a computer’, simply that we should all do what we can to redress the balance from time to time, and buying fair trade is a good first step.


At Danusha, highlights have been working direct with the women to develop new designs, and watching them blossom as they gain in confidence. In their society any association with leprosy is a one way ticket to ostracisation so it’s fantastic to see them regaining the respect of their families and being accepted back into their communities. This is what skills training does. It gives people back their dignity and I love it! What more reason do you need to buy fair trade?

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