Buying local is essential
Buying locally has become a new trend in Europe that makes sense for many reasons. Lower carbon footprint, short circuit, support of the local economy. But also trustworthiness on the product origin, manufacturing process, and working conditions. We fully support this way to help local communities while being environmentally friendly at the same time. However, this movement is missing out on the fact that millions of households in developing countries are able to make a living thanks to global trade.
Continue helping people from the developing world is as necessary
At Ocasa we believe that giving craftspeople the possibility to export their goods outside of their country is a more sustainable way to improve their wellbeing than aid.
By selling their crafts, we want to help them improve their standard of living. For some of the communities we are working with it is nearly a matter of survival. We also want to make them feel that what they do is important. And that people from far away cultures highly appreciate the quality and beauty of their work. Certainly paying them a fair price for their handcrafts and hard work is mandatory. And working without intermediaries is key to achieve this.
The importance of self-esteem
Moreover, for an individual or a society to achieve a high self esteem, the recognition of others is necessary. What would France or Italy be without their cuisines or Germany without its engineering? Developing countries often accuse a low collective self esteem. Part of it stems from the fact that very few things they do are appreciated by others.
At Ocasa, we want to contribute to the strengthening of the self esteem of the Colombian craftswomen and men that we work with. We want to share with others those beautiful crafts made within communities, on very small scales by families or small groups of people, in a completely artisanal way, using ancestral technics and most of the time the natural resources they are surrounded by. These are communities that are often far away from the main cities and thus neglected by the government.
A small contribution to a much larger goal
We think that to achieve the first three goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 -no poverty, no hunger, good health and well being- , it will be crucial that consumers in the developed world continue to demand products that come from the global south.