Shoppers help others by buying at Ten Thousand Villages Fair

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TRURO - Some of the most unique gift items around were available for purchase in Truro on Friday and Saturday.

A Ten Thousand Villages fair trade craft sale was held at St. Andrew’s United Church, offering visitors a chance to pick up products from handicraft and agricultural organizations in low-income countries. The event provides artisans and farmers from countries such as Africa, Asia and Latin America with a fair price for their items; allowing them to pay for food, health care, housing and education.

“This year, our fair is the only spring one in Nova Scotia,” said Brenda Leenders, an event organizer. “We rely on volunteers to help make these successful and we have some people who have been helping us for many years.”

Two of the long-term volunteers who were busy at this year’s event were Frances and Jim Joy, who help keep the volunteers fed and provide samples of coffee and tea to the public.

Frances has been involved since the sale began 21 years ago.

“I was volunteering with Self Help, as it was called then, before I moved to Truro,” she recalled. “When I heard about an event here, I thought I should help out. Jim got involved about six years ago and he’s a great help.

“People bring in food so it’s a potluck in a sense, but it goes on for two days.”

Frances and Jim like knowing that they are able to help people in developing countries, with no middle-man taking profits from the sales.

“We do shopping for gifts here,” said Jim. “We have some people that are hard to buy for but we can always find something they don’t have here.”

Some of the people out for the sale were shopping for Mother’s Day and they had a wide variety of items to choose from including scarves, books, CD’s, cushions, handbags, ornaments, jewelry, baskets, dishes, wind chimes, Fair Trade coffees and teas, and dishes made of materials such as rolled paper. Those who wanted to get a head start on Christmas shopping could pick up some eye-catching ornaments and nativity sets.

The Ten Thousand Villages name was inspired by a Mahatma Gandhi quote: “… India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages…we have hardly ever paused to inquire if these folks get sufficient to eat and clothe themselves with.”


Organizations: Ten Thousand Villages, Fair Trade

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Truro, India

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