We regularly receive inquires as to whether Happy Mango Beads is a fair trade organization. We feel it's important to let you know our view regarding fair trade and explain some of the ways in which Happy Mango Beads strives to help improve the lives of the people we do business with and those we encounter during our travels. Because we personally import nearly all of our beads, we are able to interact with people of many different cultures. Most of these people live in countries which are relatively poor and have no welfare system in place. The production and sales of handcrafted items, including beads, is often the only means these people have of providing food and housing for their families. Happy Mango Beads is a fair trade company in every sense of the word. Do we belong to a fair trade organization? Absolutely not! We choose not to be affiliated with any organization. We realize that in most cases their intentions are good and they may benefit the people in developing countries, but unfortunately there are many administrative costs involved and they are unable to fully monitor the business dealings of their members, which at times can lead to misrepresentation. We do not intend to insult or degrade any fair trade organization, this is only our view based on what we have experienced.
How do we practice fair trade? We pride ourselves in conducting business in a manner that is beneficial to all involved. This means paying a fair price for the beads we buy and purchasing from many different co-ops, vendors and craftspeople. By providing a market for the wonderful beads of the artisans of the world we are able to help enhance their lives both financially and creatively. This allows them to house, feed and clothe their families, something they might not otherwise be able to do.
Over the years we have been personally involved in bettering the living conditions and lifestyles of many families in developing countries. Having traveled extensively and been involved in the import business for more than 20 years we have watched children grow into adults and have children of their own.
A Tibetan family living in Kathmandu, Nepal with 2 young boys was struggling; the youngest needed hernia surgery. Happy Mango Beads paid for the surgery and now pays for the boys to attend school. We help support a school for young adults near Kumasi, Ghana where students learn trades such as shoemaking, sewing and cooking. A young couple with 2 babies who live in a small village outside of Otavalo, Ecuador recently built their first home (cement block 14x20 feet) and thanked us for making it possible. Over the years we've watched a young man in Java, Indonesia grow up and eventually marry. He and his wife are now raising 3 children while living in a tiny thatched roof house. World problems have made life very hard for them and so we regularly send money to help with food and other necessary expenses. Besides people, we also help cats & dogs by taking donated veterinary equipment and supplies to Latin countries.
These are only a few examples of the many lives which Happy Mango Beads has been able to touch. This would not have been possible without the help and support of all of our generous customers, not only through your purchases, but also because of the many donations you send us which we are able to pass on.
Though this is only a brief explanation, we feel it is important that our customers understand our position in regard to fair trade. We welcome your comments.
We never travel without 100-150lbs of donated used clothing, shoes and backpacks, plus school supplies and other useful items. Donations are always welcome and can be sent to:
Happy Mango - Donations
PO Box 64
321 Mountain Avenue
Berthoud, CO 80513
Thanks for taking the time to read this!
From the folks at Happy Mango Beads