Sale aims to spread fair trade awareness

By Diana Vilares
November 15, 2007

yadira toledo/submitted photo

The Fair Trade effort to eliminate the middleman and guarantee farmers and merchants fair pricing for their products is celebrating the holiday season with a Fair Trade Holiday Sale in Jazzman’s café starting Tuesday, Nov. 27-29 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Available for purchase will be fair trade crafts including jewelry, Christmas ornaments and decorations, books, kids toys and more, which are made possible by the Work of Human Hands program and the Catholic Relief Services.

The purpose of the holiday sale is to raise funds for the senior class gift. The idea for incorporating fair trade into the class gift originated from student fair trade ambassadors and senior English and communication majors Yadira Toledo and Patricia Sheehan.

“It creates awareness among consumers of the interconnectedness in the world. You are connected to the person who slaved to make your hoodie. Do you know who made it?” Toledo asked. “Probably a child, for five cents.”

Workers that were paid fair wages for their time and efforts made the crafts that will have come from countries like Guatemala, Bangladesh, India and China. The prices for the gifts range from $3-$70 and cater to the likes of faculty, staff and students.

Ten percent of the event’s profits will go toward the senior class gift and A Greater Gift, a nonprofit organization, will give 7.5 percent of the profits to the CRS.

Anyone interested in taking part in the Fair Trade efforts by having a sale of their own can visit the Fair Trade website at There, supporters can find more information on how to order their crafts without having to pay for anything upfront.

“We ordered $2,000 worth of stuff to sell and whatever we don’t sell we just simply send back with no cost to us at all,” Sheehan said.

Toledo and Sheehan both agree that Cabrini has come a long way in fair trade, but hope to “open people’s eyes to all of the possibilities that come with fair trade. It extends and reaches beyond coffee and chocolate,” Toledo said.

“We just want the world to be socially just,” Sheehan said.

Along with Toledo and Sheehan is junior psychology and special education major Jessica Zawrotny who is also at the forefront of the holiday sale and fair trade movement.

“We hope that Jess and other members of the junior class take this one and do even more than we have been able to do this year,” Sheehan said.

“Ultimately, it’s about giving people the gift of social awareness,” Toledo described as being her goal behind here fair trade endeavors. “And there’s no price on social awareness,” Sheehan added.

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Diana Vilares

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