RLC gift market gives back to artisans around the world

RLC gift market gives back to artisans around the world

by Steve LovittStaff Writer

At the same time each year, Dirlam Lounge in Smith Chapel becomes a market for goods from around the world. It is an opportunity for students and faculty to purchase crafts handmade by individual artisans

RLC hosted the annual Ten Thousand Villages alternative gift market this week. Crafts will be available for purchase until 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20.

RLC has been sponsoring the alternative gift market with goods from Ten Thousand Villages for the past six years.

The project promotes fair trade of goods and enables the campus community to buy gifts that give twice, once to the recipient of the gift and also to the craftsperson who created the gift because they receive equitable wages for their work.

“Ten Thousand Villages works with many artisans from around the world,” Rev. Angela Gafford Asmus, director of RLC, said. “The program began in 1946 when Edna Ruth Byler, a volunteer for Mennonite Central Committee visited a sewing class in Puerto Rico.”

Faculty, as well as students, feel this event brings the Simpson community together.

“This is a wonderful idea,” Gafford Asmus said. “Our culture is consumed with consuming. The alternative gift market allows us to appreciate the beautiful talents that people all over the world have and allows us to give a gift that gives twice.”

This event is designed to make the campus community think of more than just oneself during the holiday season as well as all year long. It promotes the idea of, “It’s the thought that counts.”

“I think this event is an awesome idea because I believe it is a way that Simpson College is able to help out the world,” junior Kasey Peters, chapel intern of mission projects, said. “It also allows people to get great gifts that have an awesome story behind how a product was made.”

Many students recognize the annual event and are glad that it is a tradition that the campus community has taken well too.

“Ten Thousand Villages is a great organization because it allows artisans from poor countries to sell their product and receive a full payment,” junior Sarah Aasheim, chapel intern of outreach and service, said.

Gafford Asmus feels this is an event that pulls our society away from the mainstream stereotype of mass production to people in poor conditions making pennies a day. Aasheim agreed.

“Ten Thousand Villages is a good way for students to be involved globally,” Aasheim said. “Anything they purchase, the money is sent back to the country that it was made in. It’s also a great way to start shopping for Christmas presents without actually leaving campus.”