by: Jared Clark
After finishing a degree in International Development at UofC I wasn't sure what to do with my life. Then I came across an old mentor of mine who was traveling the world buying jewelry, coffee, blankets, baskets and everything else from women escaping the sex trade. His team had created "More Than a Store," a pop-up store to sell these items at Christmas time ... a simple fair trade operation.
To give a quick story, the dignify quilts shown in this picture are from Bangladesh and are all repurposed sari fabric. A half size quilt takes the women about 23 hours to hand stitch. For young women with low socioeconomic status in traditional patriarchal societies, this economic activity replaces the selling of their bodies to provide for their families. Included in the cost of the quilt are funds to train women in this skill too. This is a story behind one of the hundreds of items sold at MTAS. The purpose of it has been to go further than simply selling fair trade products. It is morally right to pay vulnerable individuals a fair price for their efforts but it is like Christ to emphasize the relationship. For this reason MTAS is mobile, if anyone wants a fair trade market to "pop-up" in any of their spheres of influence, in any context, it can. in this way people can enter into this global story, and receive the real gift of relationship behind the creativity of these women.