Today, Africa is considered the poorest continent on Earth. Seventy-seven percent of Africans live on less than $2 per day, and women and children make up the majority of this number. African families must also cope with the impacts of diseases such as AIDS and malaria, high unemployment rates, and increasing problems with air and water pollution, including access to potable water.
Africans are still experiencing colonial legacies that impede the wellbeing of the people, such as the systematic exclusion of women from the formal education system and lack of access to adequate market information to trade their products fairly. The discrepancy between the extreme poverty and the natural wealth of the African continent has been a constant puzzlement and source of frustration for my wife Rose and I for many years. This frustration was the impetus for us to extend a local family business into a global effort to improve the lives and self-esteem of our communities in Africa and America.
Because I grew up in poverty in Togo, I feel morally responsible to dedicate my life to empowering our communities in Africa. I have chosen to promote indigenous African natural resources that are culturally, spiritually, economically and ecologically sustainable. Traditionally handcrafted shea butter fits these criteria. It is a renewable resource of African origin; shea trees are wild, requiring no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Furthermore, it is an integral part of many savanna communities and, consequently, there is a wealth of local and traditional knowledge of making shea butter. The fair trade of our handcrafted shea butter and shea butter skin care products is bringing income to and empowering our communities in Togo, while making indigenous, sustainable and effective skin care available to the global community.
Fairly traded, handcrafted Shea Butter benefits the communities that produce it as well as the communities that purchase it. Members of our Agbanga Karite/Alaffia Shea Butter cooperative gain pride as they are able to use their traditional knowledge and skills to support their families. Our customers benefit because they are receiving an authentic product directly from the source. As part of our Fair Trade philosophy, we also return 10 % of our sales back to Africa for community enhancement projects.
We also believe that Fair Trade applies to more than African communities and resources. The same care and philosophies are applied when crafting our creams, lotions, and soaps in Olympia, WA. We bring our handcrafted oils to Olympia, where we make our final products by hand in small batches. We combine our handcrafted oils with other high quality ingredients, including pure essential oils and food grade preservatives. We believe customers should have access to body care products made with unrefined, natural ingredients free of harmful chemicals, such as parabens and petroleum derivatives.
Thank you for visiting our site and helping us with our cause. We appreciate your support.
Olowo-n’djo Tchala, Founder