For the 15th year, Yarmouth will host a Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale, with this year’s event scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2, at Beacon United Church.
The sale helps support artisans in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
People who come out for the event will find a variety of items, including musical instruments, pottery, jewelry, baskets, toys, crèches and hand-loomed textiles.
Organized by a team of local volunteers, the Yarmouth sale will go from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn an income by bringing their products and stories here.
One of those stories is that of Rawshan Ara, maker with Prokritee, Bangladesh.
“Before joining Shuktara-Prokritee, I had no source of income and struggled to provide the basic needs of my family,” she said. “Back then I wasn’t able to send my kids to school. I was leading a hopeless life.”
In a release issued in advance of this year’s Ten Thousand Villages event in Yarmouth, she shared some of her story, saying how, at the start of her career, she received a three-month on-the-job training opportunity for making handmade paper products. Later she received more lessons from the Prokritee design team.
Prokritee (meaning “nature” in Bengali) provides jobs for poor rural women: widows and divorcees, primarily rural, landless and with little or no income. Prokritee manages several handicraft enterprises and helps other groups sell their products in local and foreign markets.
“Now, I am able to earn and provide the basic needs for my family, and send my kids to school,” Ara said. “My future dream is to create a better life for my kids. I want them to get higher education. I also want to own land and a house of my own. To me, fair trade means getting fair wages to support my family, working in a peaceful environment and living with dignity.”
Patty Dorrian, a spokesperson for Yarmouth’s Ten Thousand Villages event, says the planning committee is excited about the sale. Each year the committee gets feedback from people, she says, and uses it to ensure that popular merchandise is brought in, along with new items.
“By holding this sale, we’re giving customers in Yarmouth a chance to buy unique products while helping people in developing countries to meet basic needs for themselves and their family,” Dorrian said. “Together we are making a difference.”