WGRC’s Fair Trade Market benefits Guatemalan women


Jeffrey Kelly, Contributing Writer

The Women and Gender Resource Center (WGRC) is sponsoring a United for a Better Life Fair Trade Market this week from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7 in Little Hall.

The United for a Better Life, otherwise known as Unidas Para Vivir Mejor (UPAVIM), Fair Trade Market will benefit La Esperanza, a women’s collective in Guatemala. All items being sold, including jewelry, scarves, gifts and tote bags, are handcrafted by women in the Guatemalan community. All proceeds from the market will go back to the women to help them create new income sources and develop their talents.

This is the first year that the WGRC is partnering with UPAVIM.

Paige Miller, program coordinator for the WGRC, said the goal of the market is to not only raise as much money as they can, but to also raise awareness about global women’s issues and fair trade.

“When people visit the market, we will be giving them information about this group and about what fair trade is,” Miller said.

Included in this information are facts about UPAVIM, how it started and about its mission, which is to support the women of La Esperanza in their fight for better economic, health care and educational opportunities for themselves, their families and their community.

“I think [the market] is important, because it supports the community that these women are in,” said Shelby Gregory, an intern with the WGRC.

“They’ve built the community up and they depend on it,” Gregory said. “They have been able to create clinics and education for their children, things that they didn’t have before they got involved with the fair market.”

For those who want to check it out, the market will be open Dec. 4 through Dec. 7 in the WGRC located at 2000 South Lawn Office Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I received an email telling us about the Fair Trade Market being here, and that it benefits women in Guatemala, so I already knew I was going to shop today when I came in,” said Heather Briggs, a patron at the market. “I know how important it is to support women and men so that they can support their own families.”

The market only accepts cash and checks, and for more information, contact Paige Miller at [email protected] or 205-348-5040.