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A Caring Community

What does it mean to get ahead in business? Many companies step on anybody they can and take advantage when possible. Threats and intimidation are utilized. How much is a person's dignity worth anyway? Sadly this business practice is rampant in many developing countries.

Poor people are taken advantage of, due to their lack of education or ability to influence the system. The poor do not have powerful connections in society and often do not have access to helpful information on their rights. Many times the poor are paid paltry wages and treated with disrespect, insults, threats, and sometimes violence. 

A huge aspect of fair trade is creating job opportunities in a caring community. Bringing dignity and empowerment to people who are not used to working within that context. We see it first-hand every day, the difference it makes in a business when employees are treated with care and respect. Not only does Dekko Trading pay its employees a fair wage, we know each artisan family by name. We know what is going on in their families and are active in improving their quality of life. We know our vendors and suppliers personally and treat them with respect.

It has been a big adjustment for many of our employees who have never worked in a caring community before. They expected dishonesty, insults, and heavy-handed tactics from us. Over time they have come to see what it means to be valued. We involve employees in decision-making, and we see their capacity to make decisions being more fully realized. This is having huge impact in their lives and especially their children.

It's exciting to offer people the opportunity to work in a caring community. Empowerment, dignity. Slowly, slowly the change is happening.

What do you think? Can working in a caring community really make a difference in the lives of the materially poor? Can a fair trade business really succeed in a world of unscrupulous business practices?

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