After visiting parts of South and Central America, Europe, Northern Africa and South East Asia, in the summer of 2012 I had a wonderful opportunity to visit India. I made the trip in order to source and design new products for the fair trade organization I was working for and to see first hand the many benefits of fair trade. I was in India for 5 weeks visiting Delhi, Bhopal, Mcleodganj and Rajasthan.
The arts and culture of India fascinate me, but India has a problem with overpopulation from the crowded streets of Delhi to the mountains in the North. However despite India’s population problems, Indians are always willing to accommodate one more, and India was without a doubt accommodating to me.
In bustling Delhi, I had a list of fair trade stores, but with only their addresses it was a challenge to find them all. Locating the stores was like a scavenger hunt. I would take the metro, get off at the nearest stop, call for an auto rickshaw driver, who didn’t always take me to the right place, and then I sweated profusely in the 105 degree weather as I walked around looking for the right location. I laugh about it now, but when my feet had two layers of dirt on them and I was dehydrated, I wasn’t laughing.
In Bhopal, I visited a friend’s home décor workshop that employs village women with fair wages to do hand embroidery work. And I even got to go to an Indian wedding. Click here to read more.
In the North of India, in Mcleodganj, not only did I see beautiful mountains, but I also visited the Louisiana Himalayan Association, which has helped bridge the gap between US volunteers and Tibetan refugee aid since 1977. There I purchased products made by the Tibetan refugees. The income from the products supports their unimaginably tough journey of relocation from their homeland to India.
In the state of Rajasthan, I visited a rural village that practiced organic farming. In Jaipur, a city in Rajasthan, I enjoyed my favorite part of my trip, learning The Art of Hand Block Printing. It was an amazing trip, please read on about how my visit to Bhopal led me to start my own company.