Father Paul had the privilege to join a tour to Nepal in March, organised by Meet the People. It was a fascinating and edifying 2 weeks, engaging with people whom most tourists would never meet. Meet the People are allied to Traidcraft, and arrange for groups to visit the people who produce the goods which are sold by different fair trade organisations around the world. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the groups Father Paul visited offer opportunities to the most excluded members of their society. Typical is the Kumbeshwar Technical School, an educational and vocational training centre supporting the needs of low-income families throughout Nepal. Other fair trade organisations included in the tour were Mahaguthi Craft with a Conscience which produces, markets and exports Nepalese crafts, representing the efforts of more than one thousand individual producers, fifty percent of whom are from remote and mountainous areas; Women’s Skills Development Organisation which has been empowering marginalised women since 1975, enabling them to learn new skills which will transform their lives and their communities; and Get Paper Industry, a handmade paper and products making unit, inspired by the words and vision of Dame Anita Roddick, OBE, the founder of Body Shop. GPI provides employment opportunities for women, utilising its profits mainly for the education of girls and AIDS awareness.
Please have a look at the work of all these organisations and do support fair trade, knowing how it makes a real difference to people’s lives. Our own Traidcraft stall is open in the Narthex every Sunday following the 9.30 am Mass and on the first Saturday in the month following the Vigil Mass at 5.00 pm.