Thursday, 16 December 2010

More than just a Christmas present?

I don’t know about you but I’m definitely not someone who has all the cards written and ready to send by the beginning of December. Some years I’ve been so lax that cards haven’t even featured. Nor am I particularly organised when it comes to presents either. I have a friend who is so ahead of the game she posted a comment on Facebook to let us know all the decorations were up, the cards were ready to post and most of the presents were all sorted – and it was still November. Love her to bits as I do, I couldn’t help feel just a tad bemused and for that matter irritatingly inadequate.

Perhaps one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received was one of those ‘gift presents’ – no, I’m not the proud owner of a goat, nor is there a star named after me (although there is a village in Senegal that is, seriously there is...). My Christmas present was to give a week at a sports camp to a Palestinian kid – I hope the child had the time of his life. It certainly made me feel pretty good.

Hatti Medium Shopper in Red
My Christmas present to Clare, my sister, this year is going to be something that will perhaps have a similar positive effect on a life, probably a number of lives, over in Nepal. It’s going to be a Hatti bag. I can’t tell you which one just in case Clare reads this before Christmas Day and if I did tell you I would have to eat you or do something to silence you…not very ethical I know.

Clare’s bag quite simply has helped to change lives. Why? Well, it’s a fair trade bag that's been made in Nepal by young women who, as children, were trafficked into a life trapped in brothels and bonded labour in circuses. Even when they were finally able to return home many of the young women were treated as outcasts from society with no purpose and no future to look forward to. That’s when they are taken in and cared for by the Esther Benjamin’s Trust. And after a period of rehabilitation with the Trust, the older girls (17 years and over) are offered the opportunity to work at the Hatti Fair Trade production centre. They are provided with safe, secure accommodation with a house mother to care for them and are trained at the centre. They are paid a good monthly wage, holiday, sickness, hospital fees and maternity pay and are helped to adjust to life. An unprecedented change often takes place in the girls - they are no longer ‘charity cases’, rejected by society after a life trapped in brothels and bonded labour in circuses. They are now independent professional young women working for a foreign organisation and finally able to leave their past behind.

Now that’s what I call a real gift…

Click here to read more about Hatti’s story

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Big heart, small footprint...

A just and fair world is something worth striving for, however big the barriers may be. A greener world is crucially important too. But knowing what to do, how to do it and ensuring it’s a contribution that counts can be a real challenge. For us, trying to respond to this challenge is at the very heart of onfriday.

We know we’re far from perfect and have a long way to go, however we hope that what we are doing now, coupled with our plans for the future will help to make a difference – it might be a small contribution but hopefully it all counts.

The onfriday thing...

Do you look forward to Fridays? We thought you might, because we do too. We think it’s the best day of the week - it’s packed full of anticipation, opportunity and excitement. On Friday our imagination starts to run wild, everything seems possible and within our reach. We long for it, we live for it. Fridays make us feel really good.

Here at onfriday, life is an adventure and we’re determined to live it adventurously. It’s less about taking on the world and more about making the most of it. It’s a glass half full way of thinking – an approach to life that is creative, full of exploration and discovery and has real meaning and purpose.

It’s also about belonging and being part of something. A coming home type of feeling that you get when something just feels right, when everything seems to fall into place and it all starts to make sense.  It’s like gazing into a beautiful azure sea and knowing you’ve just got to jump in.

And if you’d like to be part of it, perhaps this onfriday adventure could start to make a difference too. We hope it will. With you on board who knows where we could end up? We don’t like high horses or soap boxes and we’re certainly not in-your-face ethical preacher people. All that stuff just turns us off. But we would like to see a more just and fair world. And a planet that has a future is very important to us too. We also happen to love great cutting edge design and really want to help young designers develop and grow. So it seems to be the perfect combination – an opportunity to showcase and support some of the most talented and exciting designers involved in ethical fashion today whilst helping to promote a fairer, greener world.

So why not jump in and start your onfriday adventure with us today…