GM: Item of the Week

Festive Red & White Giving Baskets from Rwanda!

New & Now At The Global Market!

Yes – the Global Market is STILL adding new products so that you can find the BEST gifts for your family and friends, even at the last minute. Among this week’s new arrivals: miniature red and white giving baskets from Rwanda, exquisitely crafted in the traditional shape and patterns of baskets used for gifts and storage in Rwandan culture. Each basket has a snug-fitting lid, making it the perfect place to hide an extra something special: a love note to your sweetie? Or a piece of jewelry? Truly a beautiful package for any tiny gift!

Also new this week: Soapstone Hearts in giraffe print and red “Love” etching. A pocket-sized gift that is worth a thousand words.

Perfect for percussionists (or those inclined to dance): Beautiful & wise owl shakers from Peru.

Tree décor: deck yours with a fuzzy Yeti ornament (from Nepal, of course). Your tree will thank you.

Prosperity totas: short or long, elephants or birds, colorful & tinkling. From artisans in northern India. Good luck never looked so good!

Shop at PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market, 2420 N. Robinson, noon-6pm now through Christmas eve.

Don’t wait! We close at 6pm Friday, and will reopen in a new location next holiday season.
Get your Fair Trade fix now!



Mira Fair Trade: Bringing The Beauty of Hand Wrought Bells To The World

Bell making is a traditional art form in India, originating out of the need to track herds of cattle though remote areas. Herders knew the sound of their cattle by the specific tone of each bell. Generations later, artisans still make these bells: some for herding, some for use in temples, and some for decorative purposes.

Mira Fair Trade’s bells are made by one family: The Luhars. Their bells and chimes start out as scrap metal, which the family purchases in bulk. The bell design is outlined on the metal to ensure the least amount of waste. The artisans cut out the design by hand, then transform the bell halves into their round shapes using basic hand tools, and rivet the sides together. The bells are then coated with copper shavings and submerged in fire to create a rustic and distinct look. Finally, each bell is hand-tuned to its chosen pitch. Chimes are made with a similar process.

As traditional bell makers, the Luhar family has long preserved their techniques by passing down their skills and knowledge from father to son. Their wives, daughters, and sisters finish each bell or chime with colorful beads and small bells.

Their workshop is an old, converted house in the remote village of Behat, in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh. This is a family business; it is their livelihood. Thanks to Mira Fair Trade, the Luhars have a global market for their beautiful, traditional bells, and this family business flourishes.

Mira Fair Trade was founded in 2008 by Meera Viswanathan, a CPA who lived in the United States. On a visit with family in India, Meera discovered that there were many talented artisans living in very remote, rural areas. Without the education or resources to help them, these artisans struggled to earn enough to support themselves and their families. Inspired, Meera realized that her purchasing power could make a big difference in their lives.

Through Mira Fair Trade, Meera helps these artisans earn fair wages by bringing their beautiful products to mainstream consumers throughout the United States, guided by Fair Trade Federation principles. Each year, when Meera tours the rural areas where these artisans live and work, she meets the community organizers and non-profit organizations that produce Mira’s inventory. She works directly at the grass roots levels to design beautiful, ethnic products suitable for the western world. Mira Fair Trade’s mission: To safeguard the lifestyle of marginalized artisans by delivering products which embolden their individual and cultural identities.


Empowering Women, Growing Community, and
Creating Hope:
UPAVIM is Doing a World of Good in Guatemala

Some of the most popular items at PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market are made by the women of UPAVIM in Guatemala. From Spiced Trivets to Coffeewood Measuring Spoons, Baby Booties to Worry Doll Wreaths, these are the treasures we turn to year after year to help us add color and beauty to every room in the house!

The great news is that when you purchase these wonderful items, you are doing so much more than bringing joy to your friends and family. Every purchase goes to support UPAVIM’s projects in La Esperanza, including a k-6 Montessori school, a medical center, and a bakery.

La Esperanza is located in a “Red Zone” of Guatemala City. For the women of this community, UPAVIM offers a place of sanctuary through camaraderie, employment, and security. In a community plagued by gang and domestic violence, illiteracy, unemployment, alcoholism, and malnutrition, UPAVIM creates opportunities for employment, health, and education.


So enjoy these Fair Trade treasures, handmade in Guatemala by the women of UPAVIM. And of course, as always, each purchase also benefits the La’Angum Learning Center in Northern Ghana!

Salt Crystal Lamps from Pakistan!

Experience the magical glow of these stunning Salt Crystal Lamps! Exclusively available from the salt mines of the Punjab region of Pakistan, these lamps are made from the same substance as the highly coveted Pink Himalayan Salt used for cooking.

Entrance to the Khewra Salt Crystal mine in Punjab, Pakistan

Each lamp glows in its own unique pattern of shades ranging from pink to orange, depending on the minerals present and the cut of the crystals. A Sheesham wood base, bulb, cord, and care instructions are all included.

A terrific housewarming gift or dorm room perk, these lamps make a warm and welcoming addition to any room!

Inside the Khewra Salt Crystal mine

Salt Crystal has been mined in Khewra since 320 BC. In 2003 the Pakistani government began to encourage tourism to the mines, adding lights and other attractions, to benefit the local community. When you purchase a Fair Trade Salt Crystal Lamp from PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market, your purchase benefits the artisans in this region who are getting paid a fair living wage for their work.

Get Ready for Chilly Weather with Wool and Hemp Knits from Nepal!

There’s a chill in the air, but we’ve got you covered from head to toe with hats, gloves, mittens, socks and slippers, all handmade with soft and colorful wool and hemp from the heights of the Himalayas.

Women in Nepal often have no control over their families’ finances and most are encouraged not to work outside the home. Knitting is the perfect cottage industry, because it can be done at home while caring for children and in between other household chores.

By purchasing these beautiful knitted goods, you are supporting women who are working towards creating financial stability for themselves and their families despite the cultural and economic barriers they face as women living in Nepal.

Warm woolen mittens, and women in Nepal earning much-needed income; what could be better? But wait, there’s more! The organization that produces these knitted items also supports a nonprofit foundation that spreads the good even further.

The Conscious Connections Foundation supports:

  • Access to education, especially for girls

  • A woman-run rural health clinic

  • Distribution of reusable menstrual kits to women and girls in rural Nepal, as well as education about women’s health

  • Shelter and Fair-Trade employment to victims of human trafficking, slavery, child labor, and domestic abuse

Your purchase of these and other beautiful Fair Trade items at PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market truly does a world of good!


Lather Up & Smell Marvelous:
Organic Beeswax Soap in 4 Scents

A beekeeper works a treetop beehive in Northern Zambia

Zambia’s vast Miombo forest is one of the largest swaths of pristine sub-tropical forest left in Africa. Covering an area the size of Texas, these seasonal forests are an important global absorber of carbon dioxide. Inhabited by tens of thousands of Bantu subsistence farmers, these forest ecosystems provide a living in much the same way that they have for generations. Today, the well-being of these people and their forests is threatened by clear cutting for timber and strip mining for copper. ZAMBEEZI helps to provide alternative sources of income that are kinder to the land and the people.

Partnering with young entrepreneurs, beekeepers and farmers in Zambia, Africa, ZAMBEEZI crafts ethically sourced, organic, fair trade body care products that regenerate your skin while helping communities and ecosystems. This partnership connects North American customers to the farmers and beekeepers of Zambia, a land-locked country with limited transportation and access to other vehicles of trade.

Primary ingredients in ZAMBEEZI products are all organic and include honey, beeswax, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil and mongongo oil. Sunflower oil and organic beeswax provide a skin softening foundation, while palm kernel oil creates a lather unparalleled by other soap bars. These ingredients are sourced from Zambian partners. All soaps are handcrafted in Zambia.

ZAMBEEZI has been a proud and active member of the Fair Trade movement since 2007. The high bar of fair trade means every business decision is made with the well-being of artisans and farmers in mind. Accordingly, ZAMBEEZI uses its profits to further benefit African communities, by partnering with local churches to build schools and clinics, drill wells, and work on other projects that serve needs identified by members of the communities.

One of the founders of ZAMBEEZI discusses hives and honey production with Zambian beekeepers


PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market carries four of ZAMBEEZI’s organic soaps: Cassia,
Lavender, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree.


Jewel-Colored Mommy Vases

Small Beauties For Your Best Buds

Simon and Alice are a married couple who run a cottage industry in their yard outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Alice does much of the administrative work while Simon has trained a small team of artisans to make jewelry and vases out of brass and recycled glass. They collect glass bottles from bars around their city and sort them by color. The cobalt blue color comes from Skyy Vodka bottles, the sky-blue color comes from Bombay Sapphire bottles and green colors come from various beer bottles. After washing and drying the bottles, the artisans break them into small pieces, melt the glass in a kiln, then create beautiful glass pieces, such as the bud vases they call Mommy Vases.

Venture Imports (VI) works with hundreds of artisans like Simon and Alice, who are the heart of the company. VI purposefully chooses to work with artisans who might not otherwise have outlets for their work, so they seek to work with women whenever possible. All products are fair trade. Artisans are fairly compensated and are offered interest free loans so they don’t have to borrow from predatory lenders. They are able to work in a safe environment and are treated with dignity. They may work from home, or bring their children to the cooperative to play while mothers work. All of the artisan partners’ children are in school—something which is not always the case in a community where school fees are often prohibitive to many parents.

Jennie founded Venture Imports in 2001 after an inspiring trip to South Africa her final year in college. Upon graduation, she started the company and she has been running it in the US with yearly trips back to Africa—Zimbabwe in the early years and Kenya in the more recent years. Two organizations help fill its part-time positions. World Relief Chicago introduced VI to amazing refugees who need work before they get all of their paperwork finished and are able to find full-time positions with other companies. New Moms has connected VI with young women who were trained in their job development program, Bright Endeavors.

Venture Imports is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Chicago Fair Trade, and its founder, Jennie, has served on both of their boards. The vetting process to become a member ensures that they are committed to fair trade principles.


Colorful Hand-Beaded Jewelry From Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan

Lucia’s Imports works with Mayan women around the shores of the volcanic Lake Atitlán in Guatemala to transform their beautiful weaving tradition into hand-beaded jewelry. Acquiring
new skills and a market for their jewelry creates hope and prosperity for many artisans
, whose homes in remotely located villages limit their access to employment.

In the village of Santiago, The Elder Bead Shop provides fair employment to jewelry artisans whose handiworks are now available at The Global Market. Bead shop sales also generate funds for the Santiago Elder Center, which provides meals, medical care and other basic necessities to 50+ seniors, many of whom were widowed during the long years of the Guatemalan Civil War.

Lucia’s Imports has been working side by side with Guatemalan families and artisans since 2005 to design products that are rich in tradition, fashionable, modern and sustainable. A member of The Fair Trade Federation, Lucia’s operates under Fair Trade principles whereby producers receive living wages, they establish long-term working relationships and provide artisans with equal opportunities and safe working conditions.




Wild Hemp from Nepal: Fashionably Functional and Sustainable

The Global Market’s wild hemp bags, wallets, and hats are beautiful examples of how much Fair Trade can do. We source these items from Ganesh Himal Trading, a wholesaler that has worked with local artisans in remote, mountainous regions of Nepal for 35 years, developing markets for their home-made hemp cloth products. These are small-scale, family operations; hemp contributes significantly to each family’s total income, enabling them to purchase extras such as medicine, or to pay school fees so their children can attend school.

Nepali hemp is an indigenous, environmentally friendly product. It grows wild, without the use of pesticides, fertilizers or chemicals and quickly regenerates after cutting. Villagers gather the mature hemp from the forests, using the seeds for cooking oil and the stems for their fiber. After soaking the stems to remove the bark, the artisans weave the threads using a traditional, simple back strap loom. The fabric is boiled in ash water and beaten with a flat wooden stick for softening. This way, the artisans produce one piece of hemp cloth at a time. Porters journey on foot village to village collecting one to four pieces of hemp from each home. The villages are far apart, so this collection takes several days.

The villagers’ hemp cloth is turned into bags, hats and other products by artisans at Sadle, one of 18 producer groups that Ganesh Himal Trading works with in Nepal. All told, Ganesh Himal’s network represents hundreds of Nepali artisans from throughout the country. In 2014 they founded the non-profit Conscious Connections Foundation to address issues in these communities that fall outside the realm of economic empowerment. They are one of the founding members of the Fair Trade Federation, a trade association of fair trade enterprises fully committed to equitable and sustainable trading partnerships.



Wild Animals Invade Local Fair Trade Store!

Invite some wildlife into your garden or onto your patio with these Fair Trade animals. Hand made in Zimbabwe of recycled oil drums, each one is a unique piece of art that perfectly captures the facial expression and pose of the real thing. They look great indoors on a shelf or mantel top, too.

We’ve got a whole menagerie for you to choose from: mama and baby goats, penguins, hedgehogs, zebras, and more. Come take a look before they’re all gone!