A WOMAN who for ten years has volunteered to sell “fairly traded” products made on the Indian subcontinent has been to meet some of the people she has helped.
Sue Moll has sold goods on behalf of Tearfund, a Christian development and relief charity.
It organises the sale, at a fair price, of craft and food products made by small-scale producers in developing countries, and offers them advice on how to build their businesses.
Sue, 48, of Turner’s Avenue on Fleet’s Elvetham Heath estate, spent a fortnight touring India and Sri Lanka with a group of volunteers to see some of the projects supported by Tearfund.
In Sri Lanka they saw a business making wooden toys which started as a one-man band in 1977 and now employs 60 people.
In India they travelled to Chennai, New Delhi and Saharanpur where they saw more projects, visited a slum and worshipped with local people.
Sue said: “The trip gave me real insight into the challenges facing the people who work to produce the goods we sell on our fair trade stands.
“In this country we are surrounded with abundance but people are gradually becoming more aware of the need to help some of the world’s poorest communities to avoid exploitation — and that’s where Tearfund comes in.”
As a member of The Church on the Heath, Sue said she particularly enjoyed the experience of worshipping in a different culture and was surprised to find that the service was similar to those in the UK.
“The main difference was in the length — Indian ceremonies can last up to two hours.” she added.
She will use her firsthand experience to report on the issues facing the suppliers and intends to tour local primary schools with tales of her adventures.
And the volunteers she went with are planning a reunion in March so they can reminisce about their experience.
Livingstones Christian Bookshop in Fleet Road, Fleet, is the main local stockist of fairly traded products.