Episode 47 :: Diane Hesselhuf: Sharing the Dream – Fair Trade, a Tool for People and Planet vs. Free Trade, a Weapon of Domination
Do you know where the nearest Fair Trade store is to where you live? Do you know which products in your food store have arrived there through Fair Trade? Do you have any Fair Trade clothes in your closet or items in your home? And though you won’t be at the table arguing for the environment and working people as the US makes trade agreements with Europe, Canada, the Pacific, or anywhere else, do you know the ENORMOUS difference you can make by buying Fair Trade items?
This episode of TCGP tells why having good answers to these questions makes a big difference. The founder of Sharing the Dream in Guatemala tells her compelling personal story about establishing a Fair Trade organization that helps Indigenous women, Indigenous senior citizens, orphans and students, and Indigenous Mayan artisans. Truth is, it helps us too.
Getting updated information on Fair Trade strengthens this already really powerful tool available to us to increase fairness for our environment and for low-income people. WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY May 10, 2014 - (World Fair Trade Organization) is the largest Fair Trade event in N. America, with around 100,000 people attending nearly 1000 events around the U.S. and Canada between May 3-18. The goal is to promote Fair Trade and campaign for trade justice. This puts us in solidarity globally with small farmers, workers & artisans.
The relevance of this episode, however, is far greater than WFTD. Fair Trade is a most wonderful opposite to Free Trade. The results of 20 years of “free trade” between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. (called NAFTA or the North American Free Trade Agreement) are devastating to all players except the corporations. See the excellent report entitled NAFTA: 20 Years of Costs to Communities and the Environment. That report greatly adds to how important it is (1) for us to use Fair Trade whenever we can and (2) the work of Diane Nesselhuff and the Fair Trade organization she helped start.
Our guest today, Diane Nesselhuf, is a personal friend and colleague to co-host Jerry. Diane is founder and Executive Director of Sharing the Dream in Guatemala. Sharing the Dream is a small Fair Trade that focuses on one country –Guatemala – and unlike so many non-government organizations (NGOs for short), Sharing the Dream is high on sustainability and accountability. It is not a give-away program. Diane brings a van-load of volunteers to Guatemala three times a year, not to feel good about themselves for helping “those poor people,” but to learn from indigenous people, soak up the wisdom of their ways, and then to bring that learning back to the US to serve here. There’s something really special about Sharing the Dream. It has the distinction of having the only in-country director in Guatemala who is an indigenous women.
Diane thinks that many Service Learning programs have it backwards. We learn something about the country, then we go there for a week or so and do service projects. Diane’s philosophy is that we go to Guatemala to listen and learn, then we spend the rest of our lives sharing that knowledge. That’s the service - here more than there. Others are telling a similar story and we link to those stories below.
See Jubilee-Economics FAIR TRADE blogs
Faith and Money - Making the Connection: Seeing Through New Eyes - Trips of Perspective (podcast) from Faith and Money Network
Tony Campolo on “Mission Trips” - Tony & Shane Uncut, Part 5 (Episode 24)
“Don’t Just Plan a Mission Trip” by Kathryn Sime, The Lutheran, June, 2012.