Friday, October 2, 2009

La Paz De Dios and Fair Trade

There's a great organization here in Chattanooga with whom we've had the privilege of working quite frequently over the last couple years. They're known as La Paz de Dios, and they provide all kinds of support services to the local Latino community. As we understand it, their primary aim is to empower Latinos to better and more fruitfully integrate into Chattanooga, both socially and economically. And that's good for them, and for Chattanooga.

We recognize that the past few decades' upsurge in Hispanic immigration into America has become a flashpoint for controversy at all levels of politics, business, education, social relations, and more. But what no amount or quality of argument will change is that, right now, there are a lot of people living in our country, and our city, that have come here from Latin America, legally or illegally, in search of better lives for themselves and their loved ones back home. La Paz reaches out to this community and provides English training, job counseling, translation services for school enrollment, and good old-fashioned volunteer service work to get people plugged in and on their feet. And that's probably just a fraction of the whole list of things they're up to. It's community and economic development mixed with compassion, on a local level.

I can't remember the exact numbers, but I remember reading in the New York Times in early 2007 that the World Bank (I think) estimated the total amount of remittances (that's people working abroad and sending money back home) to outweigh the total amount of official government aid by a margin of billions of dollars. Many foreign workers that come to the US are here because they are trying to support their families back home. While La Paz works to get those that come here plugged in, the work we do here at World Next Door helps bolster those communities abroad through fair trade.

For anyone just now finding out about us and what we do, Fair Trade is the name of a business practice that guarantees fair wages and safe working conditions to farmers, artists, and craftsmen living in countries where economic exploitation, or a dearth of opportunity, is prevalent. It's business conducted in a dignifying way, and it's a way for us as Western consumers to leverage our buying power to chip away at global poverty with each purchase.

Many of the products we sell in our store come from countries where many migrant workers that have come to the US originate -- places like Guatemala, Mexico, and more. From now until Christmas, we're teaming up with La Paz to attack both ends of the Latino challenge.

Shop with us online at and enter the following discount code at checkout:


Instead of receiving a discount yourself, we'll make a donation to La Paz. 10% of your purchase price will impact Chattanooga's Latino population, and 50% (the cost of the goods we sell) goes directly to the community where it was produced. The other 40% will go to pay our bills and taxes.

On the left-hand menu you'll see an option called "By Country." This will let you browse our products based on where they were produced. While the 10% donation will apply no matter what country's products you purchase, if you pick one from a Hispanic country you'll be supporting:
  1. A Latino community overseas, attacking poverty and helping to chip away at the incentive to emigrate;
  2. The work of La Paz, helping to engage Chattanooga's Latino community to become more integrated and productive in our area, and;
  3. Us, a locally-owned and operated small business.
And shipping is always free!

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