Earlier this month I attended the official re-opening of Hadeel – a fair trade shop specialising in Palestinian handcrafts from the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon.
The re-opening marked the move to new premises in George Street after 10 years of trading out of St George’s West Church in Shandwick Place.
The organisation supports a range of social enterprises working with Palestinian craftspeople.
The work of these social enterprises provides a range of benefits – first and foremost, it provides a sustainable income for workers, many of whom are women. This allows these craftspeople to maintain some semblance of normality amid often hostile circumstances which can be a tremendous psychological relief.
Additionally, in communities where there is little in the way of infrastructure or local government, the social enterprises help deliver services such as education, healthcare and emergency services.
The handcrafts sold in the shop are typical of the art and culture of the Palestinian people and there are some beautiful items for sale. The profit from the shop goes directly to producers helping them to continue to support communities.
With the recent announcement that Scotland has become only the second country to achieve Fair Trade Nation Status, the re-opening of Hadeel is a reminder of the real difference that the fair trade movement is making to vulnerable people and communities.