Pictured above, some Darfur weavers at work.

In an effort to bring our customers even closer to our producer groups, the Global Exchange Fair Trade Online Store brings you the Featured Producer Section. Set to launch this fall, the goal of the section is to spotlight crafts producers who have a particularly compelling story and outstanding products. The first product will be the colorful Handwoven Basket from Sudan. These one-of-a-kind baskets are created by women basketweavers living in an internally displaced persons camp in Kalma in the Darfur region of Sudan. The Darfur region has been engrossed in a complex conflict since 2003, leaving half a million people dead and over two and half million people displaced. Those that have been displaced within Sudan are living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. Since 2004, The Craft Center at CHF International has been working with the Sudanese people living in these camps. Kalma, the largest camp in which these basketweavers live, is home to over 100,000 people displaced by the conflict. Women in these camps are often left vulnerable and with no way to support their families. In response, CHF International has implemented mat and basket weaving projects to ensure that women living in the camps are able to participate in improving their own lives, while simultaneously preserving their vibrant cultural traditions. This project not only provides the women of Kalma economic opportunity, but it also creates a space where the women can share their stories and begin to heal together.

Listen to what the women have to say about the project:

~”When I first arrived [at the camp] a year and a half ago, there weren’t any services like [the basket weaving project]. We had to leave the camp frequently and many women were attacked. We feel safe inside the center and now have some money to buy goods and supplement the food rations we receive.” -Zulafa

~”[Coming to the women’s centers] gives us a chance to be with other women and talk about our problems. We can laugh and forget the hardships we have suffered.” -Victoria