Our Producer Stories
Toxin Free Producer Crop Network
The Toxin Free Crop Producer Network (TFPN) are an innovative local social enterprise in Sri Lanka who promote organic and sustainable farming amongst its members. They are a new trading partner for Oxfam, who were discovered during a visit to Sri Lanka in 2015. The quality of their tea and spices was exceptional, however their packaging was not market ready and would not be saleable in Australia in its original format.
Our Buyer Robin Strachan worked closely with TFPN for 18 months, creating three new tea flavour combinations suitable for the Australian market, and helping to develop new “retail ready” packaging for their tea and chilli. The new packaging meant that not only were their products now ready for the Australian market – but they were now ready to on-sell their products and increase their distribution throughout the whole world! The teas and chillies arrived in Oxfam shops in October 2015 and the tea in particular has been such a huge success, warranting regular catalogue features and a second order required to be placed with the producer in early 2016.
This process has been directly supported 200 farmers and their families, providing income for their families and experience in how to coordinate large trading consignments.
Woza Moya is a non-governmental organisation providing care and support for people living with HIV in the Ufafa Valley, South Africa. They are a small-scale, emerging producer group at an incredibly early stage of their development which was first bought to our attention via the team at Oxfam in South Africa.
After a visit to Woza Moya in 2014, we were keen to work with both Woza Moya and the Oxfam Country Team to bring their products – the fun and quirky Sock Monkeys to the Australian market. The Oxfam team also worked with Woza Moya to develop a more sustainable business model for their income generation project and provided support to the team in understanding trading relationships. Since then Oxfam’s buying team has worked with Woza Moya to ensure that trading guidelines are understood and we have been ordering the Sock Monkeys every year since.
The Sock Monkeys are a one of our buyers favourite products and feature regularly in our catalogues. You can watch a short video on how Oxfam and Woza Moya have changed their producers lives here. You can also view the full range of products from Woza Moya at: https://shop.oxfam.org.au/woza-moya/
Oxfam shop and Aspiration International have been trading partners since 1993; evolving and growing together over that time.
Aspiration International works with more than 30 producer groups all over Northern India; predominantly wood carvers in Saharanpur, traditional puppet makers in Rajasthan and Delhi, textile artisans in Jaipur, stone workers in Agra and metal workers in New Delhi. By working with these groups we are proud to be helping ensure the survival and relevance of traditional craft techniques while providing sustained employment and preserving cultural identity.
Oxfam buyers have visited and met with Aspiration crafters many times over the years to develop and select products that are suitable for the Australian market. This direct connection allows us to establish where support is needed and provide accordingly.
Oxfam's first successful product range from Aspiration was the traditional Indian stuffed puppets and elephants which are still available in our shops today. Produced by a group of displaced people from drought stricken Rajasthan, this community of more than 1,000 members have gained confidence in their abilities allowing them to train more crafters and provide them with an income which has meant that they can move from makeshift tents and send their children to school.
In recent years Oxfam has worked closely with Aspiration to develop high quality kitchenware made from exceptional quality copper and stainless steel, to exquisite marble and wooden food preparation tools. Long term interest free loans and advance payments from Aspiration International also allow their artisans to get a head start when investing in tools and materials for large orders.
“Oxfam provides continuous work to our Craftsman. The credit for our product quality goes to Oxfam; without their support and guidance, we would not have made them better. We keep on getting feedback for our products which has made us delivering the best. Oxfam pays us Fair Price always which in turns we pass on to the Craftsman which is helping in lifting the economic status of the Craftsman.” Padam Kapoor, Aspiration International.
View the full range from Aspiration International at: https://shop.oxfam.org.au/aspiration-international/
The Interrentye Traditional Healing Products are a range that was developed by the Akeyulerre Healing Centre. A social enterprise located in Alice Springs.
Oxfam first visited the group in 2013 and were immediately taken with the people, the product and the story of the Akeyulerre healing Centre and the Interrentye range. Early 2014 saw Oxfam roll out two products from Akeyulerre range; the Apere (eucalyptus) Soap and Natural Lip Balm. These products were so well received that subsequent orders were soon placed, as have been popular features in our catalogues.
Young Arrernte women created the Akeyulerre Healing Centre with the help of their elders, to be a place where cultural practices could be preserved and enjoyed, as well as a way to provide an avenue for real employment where skills and training in running a small business could be gained. The women are involved in collecting plants and preparing bush rubs in an environment where senior knowledge holders can pass on important cultural knowledge to the younger generations.
Members of the buying team were again fortunate to visit the group in 2015 when ideas around packaging, labelling and product development were shared and soon a new gift set was developed to be featured over Christmas - which proved to be very successful.
There are continual conversations between Oxfam and the Akeyulerre Healing Centre to identify ways we can further work together to develop packaging ideas, improve efficiencies and ensure the integrity of the group is maintained, whilst working together to grow our product range. View the full range from Akeyulerre at: https://shop.oxfam.org.au/akeyulerre-incorporated/