Ecuador, meaning equator in Spanish, is located in South America bordering the Pacific Ocean and has a diverse landscape. The majestic Andes mountains running North and South, the coastal region lying in the West, and parts of the Amazon flowing through rain forests in the eastern part. Most of the materials that make up the products in your Box of Blessings are taken from the country, while being eco responsible.
Minga Fair Trade Imports, an artisan group working with artists in Ecuador, shares the why behind the vision and purpose of their company with these nine benefits taken from the Fair Trade Federation.
- Creating Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
- Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships
- Building Capacity
- Promoting Fair Trade
- Paying Promptly and Fairly
- Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
- Ensuring the Rights of Children
- Cultivating Environmental Stewardship
- Respecting Cultural Identity
If you’ve never looked into the difference fair trade and fair wages makes across the globe these points are a great overview. While International Blessings does partner with artisans and companies not fair trade certified, they still uphold these values and respect for the cultures represented.
Minga means communal work day, representing the artisans coming together, working toward a common goal for the benefit and dignity of all involved. Christopher Keefe started Minga Fair Trade Imports in 1995 while residing in Ecuador, also working at improving education in Ecuador and knowledge of fair trade in the United States. Currently,the company is based in the United States working with artisans from 4 countries.
The white or caramel animal shaped keychain is made from the tagua nut. These nuts are from the tagua tree and are found in pods that can grow up to 80 pounds with 40-80 nuts housed in the pod. These nuts are sometimes referred to as vegetable ivory because of the resemblance to elephant ivory. Using these nuts decreases the slaughter of elephants and preserves the rain forests.
The earrings are made from acai seeds and coconut. The brown seeds are polished and dyed in different colors to make colorful pieces of jewelry. The bracelet is made with coconut and dried pambil seeds. Pambil is harvested from the jungle, dried, polished and also dyed into different colors for the jewelry. Using renewable resources and working towards deforestation among the rain forests is part of the process in making beautiful products representing Ecuador and the Spanish culture.
Our donation focus for January is Heifer International, Ecuadorian Entrepreneurs. $3 from EVERY box is given to the donation cause of the month. This poverty fighting organization focuses on caring for the Earth. Your donations helps train families in how to manage their cacao; longer lasting trees, with larger yields. Cacao ground into fine powder is an ingredient in chocolate, which is in high demand worldwide. Who doesn’t love chocolate? They work with 2,200 farmers throughout Ecuador, giving seeds, microloans, soil enriching materials, women’s leadership development, and agroforestry training.