The anticipation of going to the “Buy Good Feel Good Expo” was quite high after our interview session with TOM’S change maker MAC. Since we live in a commercialized world, I feel like intimate events like this are a breath of fresh air. When you look at clothing today sitting on racks or even behind vendors do you really know who is making your clothes? Is it truly that man or woman with a huge smile on their face? as they collect your $20 bill with you reminding them how awesome it is that they are doing the right thing by selling their products so cheaply. We all know the feeling of getting a bang for a buck, but ask yourself what is the cost of another human’s life.?
Nasreen Sheikh who was a former child sweatshop worker in Nepal talked about her journey through horrendous working conditions and how she managed to escape what women currently today are still facing at the BGFG main stage. When you have a stressful day, your getaway maybe a homemade face mask or a trip to the mall to pick up some of your favorite treats and even a bag to go home with. Imagine if you’re only escape from working in a sweatshop, is prostitution or forced marriage as you stare at your closet while reading this article. Thankfully, Nasreen was able to cut herself out of the cycle due to a kind stranger offering to grant her wishes by teaching Nasreen how to read. Women like Nasreen miss milestones in their life, due to not knowing their exact age as girls births are not officially recorded on any documentation in her motherland. Can you remember what you did on your 16th birthday? or the time that you went from 12 to 13? Was it making around $2 per day, 7 days a week, sleeping, working and eating in the exact same desk?
Nasreen now is the Founder and Executive Director of “Local Women’s Handcrafts” and is an international public speaker for fair trade, gender justice and more. On their site, there’s a section called “The Artists” where you’re able to view in-depth stories just like Nasreen. It’s important to know who made your clothes because the real definition of women empowerment is not only by uplifting other women but by taking them out of situations they shouldn’t have to face.
They’re plentiful of documentaries made by beautiful people and info pages on fair trade that you should take the time to watch and listen to get yourself educated on the world beyond your T-shirt. Below are photographs that we took at the Expo which we encourage you to shop at the next time you need a present or something for yourself.
Make sure to follow BGFG to keep up to date with new and exciting announcements.
Here is a list of familiar companies that use child labor and sweatshop workers currently and prior:
- H&M (who use the work sustainable frequently)
- Urban Outfitters
- Victoria’s Secret
- .. and the full list HERE