A visit to Peru for a charity project led the company founder to set up Hope Jewellery, the first of the Just Trade group of suppliers. Women living in shanty towns in Lima were creating traditional crafts but struggling to make a living. What they needed for their products was a long term, sustainable route to overseas markets. Just Trade began working with artisans to give their local crafts a more contemporary twist.
Women like Naty and Lizet can work from, or close to, home for a fair wage to support their families. Naty, a grandmother of 8, is a workshop manager who prides herself on keeping things well organised, using every piece of brass and silver carefully. Nothing is wasted and offcuts are recycled. Lizet is a single mother and although she had no background in jewellery-making is now responsible for training new employees. They take enormous pride in their work which allows them to pay for medical treatment and educate their children.
In Ecuador Just Trade encourages the use of traditional craft skills using sustainable materials, providing regular, fairly-paid work for men like Darwin. He hand-carves tagua nuts from a variety of palm found in the rainforest. Also known as vegetable ivory it is a versatile and sustainable product. Darwin and his co-workers were devastated by a local earthquake in 2016 but thanks to their employment were able to rebuild their lives.
The Flowering Desert Project in Southern India provides a refuge for vulnerable women and children. Here it also employs workers from the rural community where work is otherwise scarce. Together these women design and create jewellery in a safe, supportive environment not only receiving advice on healthcare, money management and education but also gaining status in their community.
Thai migrants who arrived in Vietnam thousands of years ago brought with them traditional textile skills which are still used today to weave, dyed and embroider fabrics. Just Trade provides a safe, secure working environment, especially for women and the disabled, who would otherwise struggle to support themselves. Amongst the more than 100 employees is Dung, a sample technician who, because of her disability, was disregarded by society. Her training and new-found skills have given her the confidence to integrate and move forward.