The world-famous Guatemalan apron is going places, you know. Just like you can find mothers and daughters selling gabachas, aprons, on any given street corner, you can also find a zillion online stores selling Guatemalan aprons; some of them claiming to pay “fair” prices or wages to the artisans.
I often wonder what is “fair” trade? What does that really mean? What are fair wages? Is it “fair” fair?
How does one decide what are “fair” wages to pay to the artisans for their handicrafts? Does one pay the “average”, the minimum legally possible or a fair share of the final price? Is it “fair” to keep artisans communities impoverished so long their “basic” needs are covered?
I often wonder how many of the so-called “fair trade” NGOs pay fairly? I wonder if the artisans that sell their wares to these “fair trade” live any better than their neighbors that sell their wares on the open market? Do “fair trade” artisans have access to better education, better food, better lifestyles?
Boy, I have many questions. Me urgen respuestas. 🙁
By the way, the aprons above sell for Q35/$4.23 directly from the seamstress and her daughter; online, the Guatemalan aprons sell on average for $35 (Q289). Go figures…
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