Shop till you drop?!
by Peter Biggs
Most of us are not adverse to a bit of ‘Retail Therapy’! When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!’ With the huge stack of flyers we get in our local paper, it is tough to think more about shopping than to look for ‘deals’.
It is a shift for most of us to consider the origin of stuff. Who made it, and under what conditions? Purchases we make support people and jobs somewhere, but we generally have little idea of their employment conditions… might it be child labour, sweatshops in dangerous factories?
Fair Trade is a movement that seeks to address these concerns and supports those seeking basic support in developing countries. According to The Fair Trade Federation,
‘Fair trade supports farmers and crafts people in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods….…Cooperatives and producer associations provide a healthy alternative to large-scale manufacturing and sweatshop conditions, where unprotected workers earn below minimum wage and most of the profits flow to foreign investors and local elites who have little interest in ensuring the long term health of the communities in which they work.’
The Intersection – a local initiative
Inspired by their Christian faith and their firsthand experience in a Kenyan village ravaged by AIDS, Dane & Meghann Jaeger decided to help the village women sell their original jewellery in the west.
What started with them bringing some back to their home is Surrey and selling it to friends, has grown into ‘The Intersection’ – an attractive and well-stocked surrey store that opened last November. It markets clothing and crafts made in developing countries. The store is laid out in ‘Regions of the World’.
The Jaegers are passionate. Having worked for seven years with YWAM, their particular concern is to partner with (mostly) Christian organizations, many of whom help women survivors of sex trafficking.
They definitiely see their work as a ministry. “Meghann has just returned from a trip to India, Nepal and Albania,” Dane says. “Our goal is to combat poverty and injustice by purchasing products from fair trade cooperatives in developing nations. Most of these cooperatives are made up of people who were living in poverty, or who have been rescued from situations like sex trafficking or abuse. They are now being offered employment making products in order to offer them a new life and a new start. We are purchasing these products to sell in the North American market.”
The Intersection store can be found a few blocks north of Fraser Hwy/188th at 6820 188 Street. The Intersection has an impressive range of goods for sale.