Lee University is opening its fourth annual Global Gift Shop, a collaborative effort with many fair trade craft suppliers.
Holiday shoppers in Cleveland have an opportunity to embrace the spirit of the season while assisting those in need. The gift shop offers handmade arts and crafts, from musical instruments, home décor and other fair trade merchandise from Ten Thousand Villages, People for Care and Learning, Fair Ladies in Paraguay, and other non-profit organizations.
“This year we are hoping to reach out to the larger community,” said Dr. Murl Dirksen, Lee professor and coordinator for the Global Gift Shop location. “Fair trade should be all our concern and we welcome interested folks to assist us in advertising, merchandizing and, of course, buying these unique artisan creations.”
Ten Thousand Villages strives to support local economy and artistry by providing a market in the United States for 138 artisan groups from 38 countries. Although Lee hosts Global Gift Shop, 90 percent of proceeds return to the artists, while the remaining 10 percent goes to Cleveland community groups and charities. The shop is staffed by student volunteers.
As one of the world's oldest and largest fair trade organizations, they have built long-term relationships with artisans that are based on mutual understanding and respect. Fair trade enables artisans to earn a fair wage and provides the opportunity for a better quality of life.
The Global Gift Shop will also host products from local nonprofit organization People for Care and Learning. It was established in 2002 to provide global care and learning opportunities to children, widows, and their communities.
Items will also be available from Fair Ladies, a non-profit micro-business operated by women living in the slums of Asuncion, Paraguay. Lee alumna Tarah Carnahan began Fair Ladies in 2008.
Carnahan said, “Women [in Asuncion] work in toxic garbage dumps for 12 hours a day making less than five dollars or succumb to prostitution. Our desire is to give options to these women, to allow them to dream new dreams for their families, and become emerging business leaders in their own community.”
Global Gift Shop is located at 440 North Ocoee Street, directly across from the First Presbyterian Church and two blocks south of the new Lee University Chapel in a former drive-through bank building.
For additional information contact Dirksen at firstname.lastname@example.org.