The amazing contribution of our Uni volunteers!
If you are or have ever been a uni student, you will know the buzz and community spirit that often floats down the corridor and erupts in an open square. Well, as La Trobe University, it is no different. In fact, more than just a buzz, there is a real sense of purpose when the Seven Women stall is set up each week at La Trobe. Many years ago, Steph, CEO and Founder of Seven Women, began a small humble stall years ago to sell the goods she had imported from a Women's group in Nepal which she had equipped to be trained in skilled labour. The work of Seven Women was so appealing in this uni environment, that people started asking questions, finding out more, and beginning to help out.
The Seven Women stall at La Trobe has been operating for four years now, and has a committed team of 15-20 amazing volunteers organising and running it. Steph no longer has to be around each week for the stall, as the uni students have owned it for themselves, organising the stock of products, transporting the goods, setting up, creating awareness and selling the beautiful Nepalese products.
The benefits and impact of this stall are immeasureable. Not only is it an excellent opportunity for creating a presence at the uni, educating students and professionals alike around issues of fair trade, but it has been an outstanding way to communicate and advocate for change in our society and uni community through the realisation of our consumer buying power. If students demand and choose ethical products, then companies will have little choice but to improve their labour and import practices to continue success in their business. It an honour for the group at Seven Women to have contributed to the push of La Trobe becoming a fair-trade certified university campus.
Moreover, Seven Women is not simply about the availability of fairtrade products in Australia. Most importantly, it is about empowering an inspiring group of women in Nepal who live and work in disadvantaged circumstances. Every Seven Women product that is bought and sold at La Trobe, has a direct impact on the women in Nepal. The stall at La Trobe is now the greatest consistent source of funding towards the training centre in Kathmandu out of which 450 women are employed. The women are benefitted through skills acquisition, training and empowerment, community and dignity, and improved livelihoods through employment and income.
Although La Trobe is currently the only uni to be involved regularly with Seven Women, we hope it's not the last! If you're at La Trobe, make sure you go along and say hi to the lovely people running the stall. If you're at another uni in Melbourne or Sydney, we would love to talk to you about getting involved with your uni - please contact us :)