I had been travelling overseas for many years, my passion was to work in orphanages and help people in great need. Tired of returning to Australia when I ran out of money to work in another café, I began studying a degree in Overseas Aid and International Development. Not long after entering the academic world, I found I needed inspiration and went to Northern India in search of an internship.
After finding my feet, I began teaching English to Tibetan refugees as well as volunteering at a child-care project, which enabled single mothers to be employed. The village in which I lived was enchanting. Nestled amongst the foothills of the himalayas, it was known as the ‘new’ home of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. Populated mostly by Tibetan refugees who had fled after the invasion from the Chinese of their country, I knew the real “India” lay just outside these tranquil borders…
McLeod Ganj as it was named, inspired me greatly. There were many NGOs’ working there, setting up projects to help the Tibetan refugees. One thing which caught my eye, was the Tibetan designs in their weavings and clothes. The Tibetan Childrens Village School is a very successful example of the work of NGO’s. This is where I first saw the weaving of shawls. I approached those weaving and working there and expressed my interest in purchasing some of their beautiful work. And so it began…….
I never returned to finish my degree, instead I travelled further into India, in search of Fair Trade Projects that could support. I returned home to Fremantle with my bundles of fair trade goodness, and set up a market stall at the music festivals and local markets. I enrolled myself in the NEIS program, which gave me a crash course in Micro Business Foundations as well as some financial assistance to get my dream up and running. It was during this stage of the process when I became fully aware of the work (and difficulties) involved in actually getting a business registered and certified as fair trade.
My next stop was Nepal…. Unlike India, it was easier to find Certified Fair Trade Organizations in Nepal. The Nepalese people took me out to the factories and villages where the products were being made so I could see for myself. I was very welcolmed and able to speak with everyone involved, management through to the needle worker. Thus was the birth of Inher Spice…… each year I choose a different destination to travel to in search of fair trade projects, returning home every summer to sell the treasures which I have found. My latest travels found me in South America, Mexico and a little closer to home, Indonesia. I work with larger scale organizations as well as single tailors that I meet working in tin sheds on the streets of Kathmandu.
Check out my photos on Facebook, all you need to do is google Inher Spice ! I like to let everyone know the importance of supporting fair trade. To pay a little more for a fair trade product means that your money is going to support the people who are actually spending their time and energy making the clothes that you wear. It is not going to support mass production industries, which hold little value on the quality of human life. I believe healing is in reconnection, and I hope that my work can connect you to the origins of some of the things which you love, the clothes which add to your colors of self expression. With humble gratitude at how far they have travelled to be in our wardrobes, from seed to sewing table, travelling the globe to adorn our beautiful bodies! I feel really blessed to be apart of this positive work, so I thank you for expanding my experience and becoming part of the network of ‘fair trading’ within our community.