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Beyond Fair Wages–Keeping Girls in School


When you purchase a Fair Trade Designs product, you know you’re supporting fair wages for the person who made it.  But your purchases also support additional resources for the artisans, particularly when it comes to educating girls.

It’s difficult for girls in developing countries to receive an education past primary school. In most poor countries, families must pay for their child’s schooling. If they do somehow manage to set aside a small amount for schooling, most often it’s the boys in the family who receive secondary education.

Aside from the obvious economic barriers, there are cultural and social factors that preclude young girls from attending school. In India, 64% of adolescent girls are often forced to leave school early to care for younger siblings, help run the household, or for arranged marriages. It is not surprising that half of all girls in India 15 and older are illiterate.

Worldwide, the numbers are even more staggering. Out of the 700 million illiterate adults in the world, 2/3 are women. Sixty-three million girls (31 million primary-aged girls and 32 million secondary-aged girls) are not in school around our globe.

For these reasons, many of my fair trade wholesale partners fund the education of their artisans’ daughters. A few examples:

  • World Finds established their Girls Education Fund to provide additional resources to the most marginalized families in their artisan communities in India. Support includes tuition fees, school uniforms, transportation, books, and much more. Last year, increased orders from retailers like me allowed artisan groups to send three times as many girls to school.
  • Global Girlfriend supports GROW, Girls’ Right To Opportunity Worldwide. The non-profit provides funding for tuition, books, uniforms, and whatever is standing in the way for these girls in need. They currently have 70 girls on scholarships in different parts of the world.
  • Lumily directly pays the school fees for the children of the small group of Guatemalan women artisans who make their jewelry. This year they established a non-profit to provide additional resources for the women and their families.

By shopping fair trade, you’re helping keep girls around the world in school.




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