Ethical City

Ethical City partners with faith-based organizations in Austin to host fair trade global bazaars. Ethical City is owned and operated by Jennifer Lucas, the queen of all collaborators and a champion for fair trade in Austin. Ethical City's products include jewelry from India and Afghanistan, metal work from Haiti, and gift cards made by orphans in Rwanda.
Fra-Fra basketweavers
© Ojoba Collective 

One of her most popular products are colorful baskets made by widows in Ghana. The Fra-Fra people of northern Ghana live in a very dry area with little means of sustenance. The culture is polygamous, so when one man dies, he leaves behind many wives and children with no way to support themselves. Basket weaving has long been a part of the culture, but pervasive poverty makes it nearly impossible for women to earn a living wage from weaving. To address this issue, the Ojoba Collective started a widow's weaving cooperative in 2005 which now works with more than 400 women in three villages, and finds markets for these beautiful baskets.
© Ojoba Collective
Ayimbono is one of the original 75 members of the cooperative. When the Collective began working with her in 2005, they interviewed her and learned how difficult life could be as a young widow with five children in the poverty-stricken north of Ghana. Her main source of income since her husband died in 1998 has been basket weaving, but the low local prices available in the market place made it impossible to adequately provide for her family with her skill and hard work. They often went hungry.

But things have been improving since joining the weaving cooperative. They met with her again on their last trip, and she reports that having the steady work, long-term business partnership, and good prices for her baskets have made a huge impact on her life. As she says, “now I realize that I can stand on my own two feet. Even without a husband I can earn enough money for food and school fees. We don’t have to struggle as much now.”
                © Ojoba Collective
Strong and sturdy, the baskets are perfect for shopping at the farmer's market, or holding household goods like socks, toys, and newspapers. Each basket is unique, highlighting the individual personality of the weaver who crafted it. The sales of these baskets provide a source of empowerment for the women and a dignified way for them to support their children.

Shop at Ethical City at Artreach November 12 to enjoy the beautiful handiwork of women like Ayimbono and support sustainable, equitable development in communities around the globe.

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