his year Ten Thousand Villageson Rosser Avenue marksthirtyyears as an independent businessin Downtown Brandon. Ten Thousand Villages is more than a non-profit, volunteer run, fair trade organization selling crafts and consumables from around the World. Ten Thousand Villages buildslong-term relationships with artisans and small-scale farmers who receive a fair income, empowering themto provide a better future for their familiesand their communities.
Meeghan Gavin, manager, states that “Ten Thousand Villages works with artisanswho would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed, providing sustainable income through Fair Trade. This income helps pay for food, education, health care and housing.”
In 1990 a small group of volunteers moved the Self-Help Crafts (Ten Thousand Villages’ predecessor) from the MCC Thrift Store on Pacific Avenue to Rosser Avenue. The name of the organization changed -in 1996, Self Help Crafts of the World and became Ten Thousand Villages -but the mission remained the same.
In early 2020 Ten ThousandVillages Canada announced the closure of its head office and distribution centre. Ten Thousand Villages Brandon is among four stores from across Canada that decided to remain open as an independent locally run fair trade store.
Ten Thousand Villages continues to be a volunteer-based organization; some of the 15+ regular volunteers at Ten Thousand Villages have been volunteering with the organization for decades. Though the volunteers’ personal reasons for sharing their time may vary, they are all concerned about positively impacting the lives of artisans and farmers in developing countries through fair trade.
This year’s anniversary celebration will be different than in past years. Since no gatherings are currently allowed, the store will be holding a social media contest to celebrate its 30 year anniversary, with 3 prizes of ten bags of fair trade coffee for the lucky winners!