Fair Trade and Dire Husi

3 Nov

I first heard of Fair Trade when I found a post by Dire Husi documenting the opening of a fair trade shop here in Cagayan de Oro City. From what I’ve read about it, the main objective of the movement is to empower and provide opportunities to marginalized producers. (More about fair trade here.)

The Fair Trade Shop, Cagayan de Oro is located at Door 108 Ground Floor, de Leon Plaza Bldg, Yacapin cor. Velez Sts, CDO (088) 857-2550. Store Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm.

The youth organization Dire Husi performed on the opening of said fair trade shop last October 7, 2009.

Credits for the videos go to Dire Husi. More videos of the group can be found in their Youtube channel Dire Husi.

I’ve personally met some members of the group before when the president of the photography club I belonged to invited me to tag along on a visit to their artisan house. The front of their house is decorated by junk art, which are the relatives of the Tin Man of Oz, and the inside of the house is decorated with soil paintings (paintings made with real soil) and various handicrafts.

The group has already helped several troubled youth find a second chance in life through art, music, and spirituality. The members I met on that day at the artisan house captured my admiration as they narrated their life stories full of struggle and hope despite great odds.

One member, called Rusty, used to be  a street kid with no parents and his home as a child were the streets of Cagayan de Oro. Still, it did not stop him from dreaming for a good education and, now that he has Dire Husi behind his back, he is looking for a way to enter my university soon.

I’m at this point in my life when I’m already tired of going to school. It’s been 5 and a half years and I still haven’t graduated. It’s my fault, of course, and I’m just forced to go on because my parents want me to finish what I’ve started. However, encounters with the members of Dire Husi made me even more aware of the poverty and abuse that I am shielded from, and the fortune to be provided with a good education. It makes me think, maybe, all I need to do is remember the dreams I used to have and, like them, not give up until I reach them.

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