ECHOPPE and the Fair Trade Movement in France, a common history
Between 1990 and 2003, at the same time as the development of the small loans for women, ECHOPPE supported, through the creation of the store "Artisans du Soleil" (in Lomé, Cotonou, Angers, Paris, Bordeaux), hundres os small caftsmen in Togo, Benin, and Niger to develop their skills and sell their products. Co-founder in 1997 of the french Platform of Fair Trade, ECHOPPE is strongly involved in the promotion of fair trade in France.
2016 has been an exciting year for ECHOPPE. Thanks to those of you who answered our call for funds in our mid-year newsletter, we are in the process of buying the land for our demonstration farm. We should have the paperwork all completed by the end of the year. Our next focus is on procuring a tractor. It won't be fancy or big or even new. Most farmers work on small plots of land of one to three acres. But we need something to help us clear our land to create a central location for farmers to come to share and learn. We hope to have it before planting season. Already the farmers have praised us for what they have learned from the few tiny demonstration plots provided by individuals on which we have worked with them. They tell us that seeing the effects of using cover crops for land conservation and enrichment has been a big surprise. Learning about alternative crops for rotating and renewing the soil have given new avenues of revenue for them also. They have been grateful to learn more about the harmful effects of the pesticides they had been using carelessly. The loans that we continue to provide help them get the planting supplies they need. And it is your support that provides the foundation for our work. Whether you give once a year, monthly, or as you can afford it, we appreciate it. We have been honored in the past to have had a couple designate ECHOPPE as recipient of their cash wedding gifts. We have received memorials. Just a week ago we received word that one family is forgoing their usual exchange of Christmas gifts and will be sending those funds to ECHOPPE. Whatever your manner of giving, we are blessed by it! If you still are undecided about how much good your contribution can do, I am closing with a personal testimonial from one of our givers. He has expressed from the heart why ECHOPPE is important to him and his wife. Perhaps you have not considered some of the benefits that he mentions. Blessings to you and your families as we pass through this holy season. We pray good things happen for all the world in the year 2017.
Board of Directors ECHOPPE, Inc.
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