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Gansu Handmade Workshop

Gansu Handmade Workshop was established as part of a development program carried out by Cedar Fund and Lanzhou Christian Council in 2008. The workshop provides a platform for women from Northwest China to further develop their hand skill, improve their self-confidence, raise their social status and earn extra incomes for their families.

Since 2009, Hong Kong Fair Trade Power assisted the group in the establishment of cooperative, bring in Fair Trade concept and principles, build up their capacities on management, product design, quality control and help them gain access into the market.  In just half year, FAIR CIRCLE has purchase over 6,000 pieces of products from the group and helped 15 women to earn an average RMB 1000.  The group is gaining recognition by the local community especially male, and some husbands even assist their wives with farm work and housework, so their wives could concentrate on production. “It was my first time to earn brand new RMB, and I wish to buy a present for my husband.” a women in the group said excitingly.

Training to increase capacities of the members

All local women who joined Gansu Handmade Workshop have to attend handicraft trainings and even accounting and management trainings in the future in order to improve improve their skills and competitiveness. This would allow them to further establish themselves in the community and even leaping out of the area.

Correlation between woman and poverty

There are 1.4 billion population in the world living with 1 US dollar or less a day. 7 out of 10 people are women among this group. This trend is an outcome of the gender stereotype which advocates male chauvinism. This situation is much worse in rural areas where male villagers tend to work in cities, leaving their wives to bear the huge burden coming from the family and often the farming work too.

This gender trap hinders disadvantaged women greatly as they are unable to participate into the community, has less chance to receive education and also has limited adaptability to any social and environmental changes. Apart from assuring producers to get a reasonable and stable level of income, the Fair Trade Power also pays attention to the underpriveledged group like village women, children and minor ethnic groups to ensur sustainability of the community.

In Gansu, most teenagers and men have gone out to work. Via Cedar Fund and with the help of Cristian Church of Lanzhou, we grouped women from rural villages together as a cooperative association. Other than providing linguistic and mathematic education, we set up the Gansu Handmade Workshop to further enhance their social status and improve their living standards.

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