After long deliberation, the Board of Directors and Staff of Partners for Just Trade has come to a unanimous decision to dissolve the organization in June, 2020. This decision came as a result of our assessment of many factors. PJT has had a wonderful 17 years of relationships and appreciation of the artisans’ handicrafts, and through this has been able to empower and provide a means of income to over 200 artisans. However, PJT was created during a time when fair trade exporters were small in number and often unable to work with artisans in remote areas who needed training in organizing cooperatives, business skills and marketing their traditional products. Partners for Just Trade with Joining Hands Peru were able to offer the skills training and accompaniment which resulted in 17 years of sales and educational outreach for our artisan partners in Peru, Cambodia, Haiti, Cameroon, Nicaragua, and Egypt. As a result, many artisans obtained electricity, running water, more durable housing and were able to send children to school and even universities. And even more significantly the relationships developed through the cooperatives has resulted in closer relationships between neighbors and a rich support system that money cannot buy.
Since 2002, fair trade has grown in the United States and with the growth of fair trade exporters, artisans are now more able to access other fair trade exporters. Several of our artisan groups are already producing product and exporting with other businesses. PJT has never wanted to promote excessive consumerism, i.e. “buying more stuff”, and so our strengths are less in product development and marketing and more in education and relationship building. To that end, we have done countless presentations, offered trips, brought artisans to the US, produced fair trade activities for children, and a Bible study with DVD. We will be gifting these resources to the fair trade community and to our partners who are passionate about continuing this mission.
We want to thank the artisans who were always our most important partners. As we transition, have been working to connect our active artisan partners with other fair trade organizations, either in Peru or in the United States. We also especially want to thank you all, who made this ministry possible and who continue to envision a world in which fair trade values are the norm and we all live in a more conscious, sustainable way. As Partners for Just Trade comes to a close the work that we do and the values that we promote will continue through many other organizations and partnerships.
The Board of Directors and Executive Director of Partners for Just Trade