Denise Attwood
This is the time of year when we in North America think “back to school”.  There’s a bit of excitement in the air as we anticipate minds filling with new ideas and dreams of a brighter world to come.  I have been thinking a lot about education of late as we delve deeply into learning about earthquake relief and the best way to distribute resources to those who are in grave need. I think about the learning required to rebuild lives and yet carry on tradition; the learning behind how to work with partners who are suffering great loss but who must still strive to support themselves and their families. Once again I am brought back to the importance of relationships and how it is through interaction and love for each other that we learn and accomplish the most.
In the past few months since the earthquakes we have allocated resources to many of our producer partners through both Ganesh Himal Trading and through the Conscious Connections Foundation’s Artisan relief fund.  We have watched as these funds have been put directly into people’s hands and used to provide monetary relief, emergency food, tin for roofs, tarps, medicine and more. These resources were provided to directly address the self declared needs of those affected by the earthquake.  Having up to 30 year long relationships with the individuals dispersing these funds and knowing that we could trust their judgment has helped us learn and further appreciate how listening to your friends and trusting them to control resources results in amazing accomplishments. People are now beginning to rebuild and restore, and, in order to catalyze this process, as you have seen through our recent shipments, they are getting back to work.
We are poised to learn more in the months to come as Ric, myself, and our son Cameron together with his friend Grant travel to Nepal, at our own

Food and supplies delivered to Baseri, Nepal after the earthquake

expense, to explore further how CCF and GHT funds have been used, evaluate their effect, learn about how to do it better and discuss with our partners in Nepal the next best steps in moving toward permanent rebuilding and what our role in that can be. We will spend a month visiting the villages and producers who received relief as well as talk with the village council in Baseri about the rebuilding of the clinic there. Then Cameron and Grant, taking a bridge year before they head to college, will spend the next 2 months looking at other small, medium and large scale aid to try to learn about what worked best and where.  Follow along by visiting the Conscious Connections Website. They will be writing a blog on our findings and we’ll post that on the CCF and GHT Facebook pages as well. This is a huge learning curve and you can be right there learning with us!

Just as there is a need to restructure the trading system through relationship, partnering and Fair Trade, we believe that as the world deals increasingly with disaster we must learn to restructure the “aiding system” as well. It is imperative that we begin the discussion about relationship in aid, learning from those on the ground who we believe have much to teach us.


Thank you for all of your help!