Market Shifts: Leslie Batchelor Helps PAMBE Ghana’s Popular Fair Trade Market Go Online

How can a small Oklahoma City nonprofit survive a pandemic? Dream big and talk to your friends – PAMBE Ghana is lucky to count aEorney Leslie Batchelor as a friend and loyal customer of its seasonal fair trade Global Market. When the nonprofit’s way forward was clearly to move the Global Market to online sales, Leslie Batchelor offered space adjacent to her law office for an inventory warehouse and sales office.

Leslie Batchelor shows a basket crafted in Uganda

“Once it became clear that PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market would have to change course from its traditional storefront model, we put our heads together and agreed that the Market must continue.
Profits from sales provide crucial funding for our elementary school in rural northern Ghana,” said Tom Ziebell, president of PAMBE Ghana’s board. The school, La’Angum Learning Center (LLC), enrolls 275 children in pre-K through grade 6.

PAMBE Ghana is excited at this new community partnership, which enables them to start a new adventure in online marketing. Leslie and her dad, Dan Batchelor, agreed that PAMBE Ghana could use vacant space in their building, The Center For Economic Development Law. Leslie, president of The Center, has been a regular customer at the Market, which has operated seasonally since 2008. She notes, “I have shopped at the Global Market most years when I’m looking for unique and special gibs. I like that I can be doing good by supporting artists working in their communities for a fair wage and supporting LLC at the same time. Elementary education and the arts are basic building blocks for communities wherever they are.”

Sara Braden and Seaira Hull picking up orders at the learning tree in Oklahoma City.

The new online Global Market offers fair trade items from around the world, made by artisans who are paid a living wage for their work. New items are being added weekly and will continue through December. Shoppers may visit www.pambeghana.org to order. Currently orders are available for pickup only at learning tree toy store, 7638 N. Western, Oklahoma City.

PAMBE Ghana began in Oklahoma City in 2008 with the dream of OCU graduate, Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels. Her dream: build a model of quality basic education in an underserved area of northern Ghana. Oklahoma City friends embraced Alice’s vision and began the fair trade Global Market to support her dream. The La’Angum Learning Center has flourished through partnerships with local villages in Ghana, friends and supporters in Oklahoma City and Canada, and now Leslie Batchelor and her dad.

For more information visit www.pambeghana.org.

Hand-made masks made with Batik fabric are
available at the Global Market

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For the past eleven years, the Global Market has provided Oklahomans with an opportunity to purchase unique art and unusual gifts made by artisans in developing countries, while supporting an elementary school in northern Ghana.

Items in the shop are purchased from all over the world and come directly from artisans and producers, or are purchased through fair trade businesses (members of the Fair Trade Federation or TransFair USA). Artisans and producers are paid a fair price for their product when it leaves their hands. Fair Trade criteria also guarantees safe working conditions, quality control, marketing assistance, no child labor, and a continuing, supportive relationship between sellers and buyers.

Proceeds from the Market go to La’Angum Learning Center, a school for children in pre-school through sixth grade in rural northern Ghana. The school’s founder, Alice Iddi-Gubbels, first came to Oklahoma City in 2000 with her husband, Peter, who worked at World Neighbors. While here, Alice earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Oklahoma City University, as well as certification in Montessori Teaching. While teaching in the primary school at Westminster, she dreamed of starting a Montessori school for children in her village in northern Ghana. In 2007 she began to realize that dream, creating PAMBE Ghana as a registered not-for-profit organization.

In 2008, the first classroom of the school was built by members of the community. It started with 40 students in pre-school, and a trained faculty of three teachers. A grade was added each year, and now there are 279 students from Pre-school through Grade 6, a staff of 23, and enough classrooms for all.

The Global Market began in 2008 as a means of introducing Oklahomans to PAMBE Ghana’s La’Angum Learning Center and to Fair Trade. This unique combination ensures that all purchases serve a triple benefit by pleasing the recipient, supporting the artist who made it, and benefiting PAMBE Ghana. Global Market volunteers are well versed about Fair Trade and about the La’Angum Learning Center and are eager to share interesting stories about Market products and the school.