O’Donnell Presents on Fair Trade Improving Someone’s Life in a Developing Country

Posted on 11/9/2015 1:01:37 AM

O'Donnell Speaks“Weaving is like a collective form of resistance and strength that belongs to the private space of indigenous women” (Rosalinda Santiz Díaz), was the quote that began Kate O’Donnell’s presentation on Tuesday, November 3, in the Blue Room.

O’Donnell explained that Rosalinda is one of the women who forms the Cooperative Jolom Mayaetik.  Jolom Mayaetik is a space where Mayan indigenous women come together to socialize, to work out their problems, to educate themselves, and to create a business together. Together, these women have strength and are able to create their business of textile weaving, where as individually they would not be able to. The Cooperative is run solely by women as O’Donnell related.

Chiapas, MexicoJolom Mayaetik is located in the most southern state of Mexico; it is in the state of Chiapas, where one fourth of the population for this area lives in poverty. The Cooperative Jolom Mayaetik is a way of helping the indigenous women be financially independent to feed their family.

O’Donnell explained that since her involvement with the Cooperative, she has become a type of advisor and liaison for the indigenous women. She advises them on the United States’ preferences of styles and colors to help the women sell their textiles in the U.S. at a fair trade.

Mayan textilesIn short, O’Donnell described fair trade as a movement to help end world poverty and to help treat people from developing countries with dignity and respect. In other words, fair trade is a way to improve someone’s life from around the world. Then, the speaker asked the audience to think about fair trade products, such as chocolate, coffee, textiles, cotton, and certain fruits, such as bananas—many of these products come from developing countries.

O'Donnell selling the Mayan textilesHer message that night was to inform and encourage the audience to get involved in fair trade. Fair trade could even start on campus. She reported that Aramark participates in fair trade business, and, if asked, they would provide fair trade products just as they do at her college, Hartwick College.

O’Donnell also brought some of the Jolom Mayaetik women’s textiles for sale. People bought some of the colorful, beautiful Mayan textiles before and after her presentation.

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