I am so thankful for many things this year, including the third anniversary of The Little Market. I started The Little Market with my dear friend Hannah Skvarla to provide artisans around the world with an opportunity to share their handmade goods with a larger audience.
I am grateful to be learning so much from my charitable fair trade shop, and I am constantly inspired by the female artisans we are working with. Our artisan partners have experienced different hardships in life— many of them are living in impoverished countries, are refugees who have had to flee their home countries, and/or are survivors of domestic violence. Hannah and I are so inspired by our hard working artisan partners, and we work as hard as we can to further their careers and improve their lives.
Here are five things I’ve learned, based on my experiences with The Little Market and our artisan partners, to not take for granted:
1. Access to Education
I feel very lucky for all of my educational opportunities in life, from school to professional and career opportunities. Worldwide, there are many barriers to education for children—especially girls. Artisans have shared with us that they are often able to send their children to school with the extra income they receive from purchases at The Little Market, which allows access to a higher quality of education.
2. A Safe Working Environment
The Little Market is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, and one of the key values is a safe and healthy working environment. Living in the U.S., it can be hard to imagine not feeling safe at work. Unfortunately, this is an unfair reality for too many people all over the world. At The Little Market, we ensure that our artisan partners provide a secure environment for their employees. In addition, they often provide skill training and a variety of programs, such as microloan programs, to further the careers of the artisans.
3. Equal Pay
Women all over the world are earning less income than men. We started The Little Market in part to provide opportunities to women around the world and to help them achieve economic independence. This is something that is extremely important for women worldwide. It is a global issue that many women do not have access to the same job opportunities as men do.
4. Clean Drinking Water
I’m very grateful to have access to clean drinking water. Worldwide, one in 10 people lack access to safe water, according to Water.org. When you have clean water, it’s hard to imagine what life without water would be like, such as not being able to clean, cook meals, or bathe.
5. Healthy Food for Our Families
I am thankful to be able to have healthy food every day. Our artisan partners have shared with us that their new income has allowed them to purchase healthier, more nutritious food for their families and themselves. For many, eating healthy is a luxury that they dream of providing for their families.
Our artisan partners are so inspiring, and I am very grateful for everyone we are working with. Thank you so much for your support of The Little Market and our artisan partners!