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Press Release: Trade Aid

Whilst we enjoy giving and receiving gifts this Christmas, many artisans and producers from around the world will not. For the artisans affected by the recent cyclones in Bangladesh or Palestinian oil producers who face embargoes on their products, the outlook over Christmas is grim. New Zealanders can play a part in supporting these artisans and producers this Christmas through buying from Trade Aid.

Support Artisans in Bangladesh

Cyclone Sidr hit the Eastern coast of Bangladesh on November 15 creating havoc yet again for this disadvantaged low lying country. The present death toll from the cyclone is at 3,871 people (as at November 21, 5pm) and over 3.2 million people have fled their homes. Tens of thousands of people urgently need food and shelter and approximately 300,000 houses have been completely destroyed.

Trade Aid has seven trading partners in Bangladesh who work with over 20,000 artisans. The majority of artisans are based in the central and southern parts of the country and many have been severely affected by this catastrophe and have lost their homes and their workshops. There has also been massive damage to crops that are used both as a food source and in their craft products.

However, these artisans remain optimistic. Michael Gomes, the director of The Corr Jute Works in Bangladesh in correspondence with Trade Aid has said “While we painfully see the human sufferings we also notice with pride and joy the strength of our poor communities to cope with disaster situations…we will not request your relief or aid. What we require for our artisans is an opportunity for work. We therefore request you to do your best to stand by our distressed people – not with money or any material, but with production works so that they can recover from the situation quickly.”

New Zealanders can play their part in supporting these artisans this Christmas by buying gifts from Trade Aid’s large selection of products from Bangladesh. For these artisans, your purchase of their products can help them to recover faster.

Palestinian Embargo in the holy land…

Due to the Israeli embargo of products originating from Gaza, no products can currently leave the Gaza strip. This means that producers of Trade Aid’s couscous, a women's cooperative that was set up by Trade Aid’s partner organisation PARC (Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees), are without a means to export their product. Trade Aid’s stocks of this couscous will run out in early December. PARC now supports over 200 disadvantaged families for whom the embargo means a loss of their main source of income.

Abu-Ghazaleh, the Palestinian Fair Trade Department Director for PARC in Palestine has said that “PARC and its target groups hope that the international community will practice pressure during Annapolis Summit on the Israeli government in order to restore the conditions in Gaza and to reopen the crossings; which is the only way that might bring the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza to a halt. “

New Zealanders can play a part in helping these producers. You can also include Trade Aid olive oil from Palestine in your gift giving this Christmas to show your support for these Palestinian producers.

Every Trade Aid shop is a treasure trove of fascinating goods from jewellery, toys and soft furnishings, to basketware, stone carvings and food products from around the world. Shopping at Trade Aid shops give customers an opportunity to make an ethical choice this Christmas and they also have the knowledge that their purchase really can make a difference to those in need by giving gifts that give twice - to your loved ones and also to the producer who made it.

Editors notes:

- For more details, updates and letters from Trade Aid’s Bangladesh partners and Palestinian producers please visit our website – www.tradeaid.org.nz or email julia.capon@tradeaid.org.nz

- For more details about Trade Aid, shop locations, product information please visit www.tradeaid.org.nz

- Trade Aid is a New Zealand not for profit organisation founded in 1973, that works to improve the livelihoods and well beings of disadvantaged producers and speaks out for greater justice in world trade. Trade Aid operates 31 retail stores throughout New Zealand and has more than 70 trading partners in over 30 countries around the world.


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