Fair Trade Garment Workers: 'I Made Your Clothes'
This Fashion Revolution Week, (April 23-29), people are asking #WhoMadeMyClothes to better understand the lives behind their favorite labels. Brands and shoppers that have opted for Fair Trade Certified clothes will be able to share the kinds of stories the world wants to hear. If you wear Fair Trade, you have a hand in the making of these stories too. Read them below, and learn how Fair Trade helps create desperately-needed transparency in fashion.
We believe the more awareness we can bring to the stories behind our clothes, the more impact we can have across the fashion industry to raise standards for workers and for the environment. Your curiosity, your voice, and your shopping habits are more powerful than you know.
Ulageshwaran, Bestitch Knits
Reports show that 39% of garment workers in the Delhi Capital region suffer from eye strain, but at Bestitch Knits, Ulageshwaran and his fellow workers don’t have to make a trade-off between earning a living and staying healthy. In October 2017, the Fair Trade Committee partnered with a local hospital to hold an eye clinic, paid for by Fair Trade Community Development Funds. Doctors came to check workers' vision and those that needed prescription glasses were then provided glasses at no cost to workers.
Priti Thakur, Pratibha Syntex
The region of India surrounding the Pratibha Syntex factory where Priti works receives an abundance of water during the rainy season every year, and as a result is prone to water-borne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, and malaria. Workers who can’t afford to purchase bottled water for themselves and their families are at high risk. It’s reported that in India, over 100,000 people die of water-borne diseases annually. In August 2016, workers like Priti voted to use Fair Trade Community Development Funds to purchase water purifiers for nearly 5,000 workers to take home.
Shiv Nath, The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills
At Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills where Shiv works, lack of access to clean water is a major issue. Last year, workers voted to buy water filters and monthly health kits (with items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and detergent) for workers using the Fair Trade Community Development Funds. Most workers are migrants and could take the water filters and kits back to their villages for their families to use.
Thakskila Senarathne, Hirdaramani Kahathuduwa
In June 2016, workers at the Sri Lanka facility voted to use Community Development Funds to pay for grocery bundles for employees to support their families and help manage the cost of living during the holiday season.