Sustainability is more than just the environmental aspect; it also encompasses social and economical development. It is a philosophy that merges these three to a point where there is not only synergy but something very powerful and empowering. Many successful examples are non-profit organizations that work with underprivileged or impoverished communities to develop their ancient crafts made with local renewable materials and by selling items at a fair price, paying workers fairly, and providing a clean and safe work environment, thus building strong communities. See a few examples below:
Shown above the jump, from left to right:
1. Hope for Women sell beautiful and unique items that are fair trade, eco-friendly and handmade by economically disadvantage women worldwide. Through this powerful organization, they work in clean and safe environments and are able to take control of their lives and futures.
2. Turquoise Mountain was established to restore Afghanistan’s former beauty, to keep its famous craft skills alive and to restore a sense of pride in Afghanistan’s culture. Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world and devastated by war, and it is largely dependent on the narcotics trade.
3. One Thread Fair Trade works with communities of marginalized female artisans worldwide who create stunning hand-crafted home accessories. Their work enables battered and impoverished women to become self-sufficient and improve the quality of life for them and their children.
4. Alpha Workshops, in NYC, is the only non-profit in the USA that trains and employs people living with HIV/AIDS in decorative arts. They offer a flexible and supportive workplace responsive to the medical, financial and emotional needs of people living with a chronic illness.
5. GoodWeave helps to combat the problem of 250,000 children exploited in the handmade carpet industry. They offer certification for rugs that are child-labor-free and provide education and opportunities to rescued and at-risk children.