Saturday, 13 April 2013

Discover Celeste Handmade Ethical Trade

Hola ecofashionistas from the high seas! I'm writing to you while bobbing along the coast of South America on my way to Valparaiso in Chile. Before leaving Australia I was fortunate enough to have stumbled across Poonam Rawat-Hahne from Celeste Handmade Ethical Trade while visiting a local Eco Living Fair near my home. I invite you to learn how Celeste is harnessing the positive power of fair trade.

Q. What inspired you to create Celeste Handmade Ethical Trade and what does the name symbolise?

Our main project is to form an employment/training centre for the underprivileged women in the Indian Himalayas. To reach this goal I have partnered with 5 different fair trade groups who support women and the needy. I met these groups and was amazed by the amazing work people are doing to help the poor and I really think fair trade is the way to go! 

I support these fair trade producers by marketing their products in Australia and helping them with contemporary designs. We will live in a better world soon if we all support fair trade! It might take a bit of time but it will happen. 

All of the profits Celeste makes goes to the fund to start the employment/training centre for the underprivileged women and school for the poor children. Once we reach our goal we will start a similar project in another village.

Celeste stands for “Heavenso we aim to give a little piece of heaven to the makers of the products (by practicing fair trade…for the poor to see their children drink milk is heavenly already) and the buyers of the products by providing them beautiful handmade goods with a beautiful story.

Q. How would you describe Celeste in 10 words or less? 

Handmade - Ethical Trade :o)

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the positive impacts of buying fair trade products?  

  • Community development
  • Safer environmental health
  • Supporting artisans/producers to lead a better life
  • Providing employment to the poor

Q. What steps has Celeste taken to reduce its own ecological footprint? 

We only use recycled paper bags and use natural dyes.

Q. How is Celeste working to improve the lives of underprivileged women in the Indian Himalayas? 

We opened a women shelter in the Himalayas 5 years back and realised we couldn’t provide enough security by just giving the ladies food and shelter. Our current project is to open an employment/training centre for underprivileged women and a school for the poor children in the Indian Himalayas. 

We have many young widows with 2-3 children and no way to earn a living. We want to make these ladies self-sufficient and bring some hope and happiness into their life. These ladies are often treated very badly and are raped by their father/brother in laws. Because of their religion these women can never marry. We hope to bring a purpose to their life. 

Q. Do you have a favourite item in store right now? 

I like all the products as all are made beautifully! I like the baskets and handmade paper in particular.

Q. Who or what is inspiring you right now? 

Just imagining happier and confident faces of these women give me all the inspiration I need and more!

Q. What does the future hold for Celeste Handmade Ethical Trade? 

We hope to open our first employment centre soon and continue to form more centres in many villages. Celeste aims to market fair trade products in Australian and European markets. Celeste wants the world to know the stories of these producers. We are taking small steps but we are sure we will reach our goal. 

I started last year and already this year we're aiming to provide employment to 3-6 women in the Indian Himalayas within the nest few months.

The more products we sell, the closer we get to our goal of providing additional employment opportunities for disadvantaged women!

You can also connect with Celeste Handmade Ethical Trade on Facebook.

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