As a mum to a four year old I am the first to admit that I often purchase the items on his birthday and Christmas list without giving a second thought to where they were made and perhaps more importantly whether the workers making them were paid a fair wage in order to create them.
My son like many other children is easily influenced by the latest craze and there sadly appears to be little room for compromise at this age. It is to this end that I have decided that when needing to buy Gifts for Babies I am going to widen my horizons and look at what the Fairtrade market has to offer instead.
My first opportunity presented itself last week when one of my closest girlfriends had a little boy. Like many people I tend to do most of my shopping online due to the fact that it is both quick and easy.
Having performed a quick scour of the internet I came across a non-profit organisation called Hathay Bunano. Set up in 2004 by a woman who moved to Bangladesh with her two young sons and her British Bangladeshi husband she put what limited skills she had into helping the local woman that lived there. A lover of all things crafty she taught the women how to knit and crochet so that they could make toys which they could sell in order to help bring sustainable and flexible employment to the area. Expansion was rapid and her husband quickly joined her on a full time basis arranging training courses and setting up new rural production centres.
Hathay Bunano went from strength to strength and some six years later its own brand “Pebble” was launched. By using its own brand the story of both the products and the processes could be told. In 2009 the founder Samantha Morshed was even honoured with an MBE for her work.
The more I read the more excited I became about being able to support such an organisation. My only reservation was however whether or not I could afford to buy from the range of Gifts for Babies they had on offer. I like many other people have often thought that Fairtrade gifts are simply too expensive however I am the first to moan when I have bought something and it has broken within a matter of days so was now thinking that perhaps cheap toys are actually a false economy.
I found there were a number of companies supplying these toys however I quickly settled upon the Unusual Gift Company as they work with a large number of sellers who promote fair trade and ethical sourcing.
As soon as my eyes fell upon the range of handmade toys I was sold. Hand-knitted in 100% cotton yarn not only were they bright and bold they looked perfect for cuddles. Suitable from birth and tested to EN71 and CE safety standards they make ideal Gifts for Babies. The first purchase of many I suspect!