It’s really wonderful to make fair trade products and to ensure that we are accountable for the goods we create and sell. The impact of this is very important, but as Fibres of Life matures, grows, and stabilizes, it is our goal, every year, to integrate our social or environmental values into our business through new steps every year.
3 years ago, we took our first steps to allocate portions of our profits to initiatives that support areas we would like to see change. Fighting child labour, and supporting some of the ill of the many street dogs we encounter in Nepal is where we have committed our efforts – and it has been the greatest privilege of all the work we do.
1% of our gross sales are allocated to fighting child labour.
One of the world’s most significant global industry practices, in India alone, it is estimated that there are over 1 million child labourers – including work in roadside food stalls, hard labour, as domestics (most at risk of sexual exploitation as well), and importantly to us, bonded child labour is rampant in the textile industry.
Our desire to support a child labour project in the region of the world we partner in to create our products led us to Bachpan Bachpan Andolan – or ‘Save the Childhood’ – an Indian organization and movement doing powerful direct action to resist child labour. BBA has a network of volunteers throughout India, and in South Asia. It starts with prevention through grassroots education in low income communities to educate families about the misleading practice of child trafficking. This is done through education on their human rights, a traveling caravan of youth and former child labourers who use puppet theatre to educate on child labour across languages, and more. BBA also focuses on direct action and raids on child labour establishments to liberate children from labour and to subsequently offer them rehabilitation, repatriation to their families when appropriate (many families are misled into the trafficking of their children and do not make a conscious choice to bond their child in labour), or to offer the children ongoing accommodation and education at their children’s facility in Rajasthan when needed. They also work hard to empower children and support the development of democratic childrens’ bodies at the local village level to hold local political officials and adults accountable for the rights of kids in the community. BBA is a tireless advocate for change – working from the grassroots on the ground to speaking at the International Labour Organization to push for better global labour standards. Visiting BBA in India is always a tremendous growth opportunity for us and we are under going discussions for deepening our partnership.
For more on Bachpan Bachao Andolan, see http://www.bba.org.in/indexmain.php.