October 10, 2009


Hello all!

Happy October!

Fall Break has started and today was our first day working at SERRV. They are a fair-trade organization who's mission is to "eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide."

SERRV is celebrating it's 60th Anniversary this year! It all started in New Windsor, Maryland, which is where the Brethren Service Center is located. SERRV started as a small group of church relief workers helping refugees rebuild after World War II and has transformed over the years into a $9.5 million fair trade network connecting thousands of artisans in 35 countries throughout the world with customers and volunteers (thats us!) across the United States.

SERRV operates completely at the hands of it's Volunteers. They rely on our free labor to keep the cost down for their artisans around the world. Also, when you volunteer you get 10%-20% off of their in-store purchases (the day you work), and access to their store downstairs. It's a nice environment to work in, we get breaks before lunch and have fair trade snacks in the break room and then when you work 8 hours at the Brethren Service Center you get lunch for free in the cafeteria. Our group worked with mazes and bags today. We unpackaged the items and then inspect them, price them, and repackage them to be redistributed to stores and sold.

Each day that we work at SERRV, I'll showcase the items that we worked on. Here are the items for today!

Labyrinth Game

A carved wooden maze with metal balls. Move all balls to the center and you win.

India: Tara Projects

Tara Projects has been working since the early 1970s to fight exploitation, poverty, and the protection of rights of artisans against social injustices. Over the years, they have extended their services to reach nearly 1,000 artisans in several states in India. They provide support in the production and marketing of handcrafts based on fair trade principles while also addressing community development needs of grassroots craftspeople.

Mesh Market Bags

Keep these strong jute bags in the car for trips everywhere from the beach to the farmers' market. Flexible shape allows the bags to expand to accommodate large items. approx 30 in. l

Bangladesh: CORR-The Jute Works

CORR – The Jute Works (CJW) was started in 1973 by CARITAS/Bangladesh, a Catholic service organization, to help rural women provide supplemental income for their families. CJW continues to bring about qualitative changes in women’s lives by providing them with opportunity for economic viability and social progress. At present, 3,515 artisans, who are members of 140 artisan groups, are supported by CJW’s work.

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