Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

‘Work of Human Hands’ markets handiwork of Third World artisans

the Inland Register

(From the Oct. 2, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Will and Anne StrandWill and Anne Strand (right) are shown at a “Work of Human Hands” sale at Immaculate Conception Parish, Colville. (IR photo from Pam Vail)

“All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions…”
– A Catholic Framework for Economic Life, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1996

Fair trade is a movement rooted in the principles of economic and social justice. Fair trade seeks to empower low-income or disadvantaged artisans and farmers around the world.

The primary goals of fair trade are to ensure fair wages and decent working conditions for workers in the developing world and to promote goods that reinforce cultural traditions and are environmentally sensitive. In addition, fair trade fosters understanding between the producers in the Third World and the consumers in the First World.

Eight years ago Catholic Relief Services joined with SERRV International, a non-profit alternative trade and development agency, to expand the market for fairly traded goods in the United States and to share the stories of artisans in the developing world. The result of the partnership was a program called “Work of Human Hands,” which marketed hand-crafted goods from Third World artisans. The “Work of Human Hands” program assured fair prices for the goods and prompt payment to the creators.

With the Work of Human Hands craft sales CRS and SERRV reach out to parishes, raising awareness about the social and economic conditions for craftspeople and farmers around the world. The project also provides United States parishioners an opportunity to purchase functional and unique handcrafted items, and to learn about the countries where the items come from and the artisans who create them.

Parishes in the Spokane Diocese have sponsored “Work of Human Hands” craft sales in years past. The opportunity exists for other parishes to join the effort. CRS makes parish participation easy with an attractive catalog and helpful instructions.

To learn more about fair trade and “Work of Human Hands,” stop by the sale and display at the upcoming Catholic Conference. There will be information on the project and beautiful items for sale. Information and catalogs also are available from Scott Cooper, director of Parish Social Ministry, at 358-4273.

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