How does this product qualify as fair trade?

About halfway through my stay, the teachers and I had a meeting with the community to discuss the idea of my buying jewelry to sell at home.  They liked the idea, and we agreed I would choose 5 from each family.  By purchasing 5 from each family at the same price, we ensured everyone benefited equally from the project.  In the future we will continue with this plan, not ordering the jewelry until there are enough orders so that each family can receive an equal profit.  The business plan is also designed so that the families who make the more expensive designs make a lesser quantity, so that overall the families earn the same.   This project is in collaboration with the Cofan youth group AJONCE, who will take care of the orders, and two of the women who have already worked to sell the jewelry in Ecuador, who will be in charge of all monetary transactions.

A'i jewelry is unique in that part of the money is going to the community as a whole to improve education.  Their first goal is to purchase a computer for the school .  They are opting for superior education for the young people, in hopes that the culture can achieve both independence and stability in its relation to the outside world in the future.  In this day and age, it is therefore necessary for the children to learn how to use a computer before entering secondary education.  The computer will also be used as an educational tool for the students by storing stories, pictures, and movies from the past.

Here is the approximate breakdown of the profits:

74% to the families

14% to the community (focusing on education)

12% to maintaining the business

The jewelry is also completely made with seeds, nuts and fibers they find in the jungle.  Although it may appear easy to twist some fibers (shown below) and then put the seeds on the string, I have scars on my fingers to prove it is not.

 Why are we not fair trade certified?

Currently there is no fair trade certification available for jewelry.  However, it does follow standard fair trade requirements. 

Thanks to our Cofan partners:

Nicolas - School teacher
Fidel - School treasurer
Merardo - School director
Feliza Ortiz - Local artisan organizer
Roberto - President of Cofan Dureno
Hugo Lucitante - Youth counterpart
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