My husband's parents worked for over three decades in Bangladesh and fell in love with the people of this poor nation. I remember Lois, my mother in law, used to lapse into 'Bangla' halfway through conversation and then spend half a minute searching her mind for an equivalent Aussie word. She was an amazing woman who could think in Bangla or Aussie. Her wedding dress hangs in my lounge room. She was tiny!! She waited a year after becoming engaged before following her fiancee out to work in Bangladesh. She left Australia by slow boat with no email or mobile phones for the man she loved and married him there. What Courage!
When John and I were just married we went to stay with them. I saw for myself how easy it is manipulate people who live in poverty. The offer of any work is tempting, even if the work is unsafe or poorly paid, or paid only in promises. A lack of education creates the inability to read contracts and names are signed with an 'X' or a thumb print. My Father in Law went to fight for a small community who thought they were signing a contract for work and found they had signed away their land rights. The presence of my determined Father in Law saved this community from eviction.
Sometimes in our magical land of Oz we find life a struggle and feel that there is never enough money to stretch to the size of the bills. I know I do. There are times when I open any official looking envelope with dread. It is hard to get my western mind into the life of a family with a poverty level income. I remember my mother in law telling me not to accept any meal invitations while I was in Bangladesh because it would involve increasing the debt load of the host family. Jodie MacCartney who lives in and works in Klong Toey slum in Bangkok talks about teaching the idea of saving to women who have never before had enough at the end of the day to put away for tomorrow. Jodie also tells me that many families in the slum have "hungry days" and a nightmarish debt level. The impact of regular Fair and Supportive work is more than positive. It enables families to think beyond this day and to imagine a future for themselves. It takes away disabling and desperate patterns of poverty that lead to sex work as income producing, or marriage of girl child offspring to reduce daily food costs, or the sale of a kidney to pay off money owed to unforgiving money lenders. Fair Income enables children to grow with opportunities and healthy bodies with strong bones unaffected by famine rations. It gives families income to go to the Doctor when they have illness without having to borrow money from unscrupulous money lenders. Fair Trade work brings hope.
PebbleChild Toys are made in the poor rural areas of Bangladesh and each toy has Amazing Power for Good!
This Fair Trade organisation started as a quiet idea of Samantha Morshed. Samantha moved to Bangladesh with her husband Golam Morshed for his work. She says that as soon as she arrived in Bangladesh she was looking for some way to provide work for the Bengali women who lived around her. These women had not had any opportunity to access education or develop a skill set that brings employment opportunities.
Samantha began by teaching four women how to knit in her family room. PebbleChild now gives Fair work to thousands of Bengali women and sends their joyful and beautiful toys all over the world.
Pebble Toys are well designed, there are no buttons or safety hazards and they are made from FairTrade Cotton firmly crochet often with a rattle safely tucked inside. The design is always beautiful with cute smiles and arms small enough for little hands. There is no plastic or toxic paint, just cuddly soft happy toys, designed to give unconditional love to their small owner.
When you purchase a PebbleChild toy your purchase helps a new generation access education and this is a priceless gift to families, communities and to the nation as a whole. PebbleChild toys really have super powers to help fight poverty!