Peacecraft, which is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, sells handmade crafts and clothing from around the world, providing a fair market for people in developing countries who often have no other source of income. Soon after the store was born, it came under the care of Dr. Angelo Tomedi, a family practitioner in Albuquerque. Having done extensive work with problems of child malnutrition in Central America, Dr. Tomedi believed in the power of fair trade to transform peoples' lives, and he used that dedication to help Peacecraft make it to its 21-year anniversary.
Peacecraft works with over 30 suppliers from 14 different countries, such as Ecuador, Ghana, and Thailand, and it sells unique gifts like handmade dolls from Mexico and soapstone domino sets made in Kenya. Some of these suppliers find Peacecraft through the Internet, some are discovered by Peace Corps members who then help them find markets for their goods, and some are sought out by the Peacecraft team on trips abroad.
While they are from all over the world and produce a wide range of crafts and clothes, all of these suppliers do have something in common: they are all community-owned and - run cooperatives, and they all adhere to fair trade criteria. (All Peacecraft suppliers must must be members of the Fair Trade Federation, the International Federation of Alternative Trade, or the European Fair Trade Association, or they must be approved independently by the Peacecraft Evaluation Committee.)
In addition to earning a livable income from the crafts sold through Peacecraft, members of craft cooperatives often grow stronger together and cooperate to solve serious problems within their communities.
"We have witnessed communities that have been completely turned around through the practice of fair trade," says Sara Pax, board member of Peacecraft. The cooperatives sustained by a living wage, says Sara, "are able to support schools, hospitals, and educational programs in their communities."