Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Little Bit of Africa at Fair Trade Show

Last Sunday, Tom and I visited the Paris suburb of Alfortville to attend the last day of the 13th edition of the Journées du Commerce Equitable (Fair Trade Days) at the Mairie (town hall). Alfortville is proud to have won the title of "Fair Trade Territory" in 2009 and 2012, and is committed to raising awareness of the importance of responsible and socially-conscious commerce.

Trade show banner
© Discover Paris!

We partook of a light "brunch" of products donated by Artisans du Monde, including honey, jams, chocolates, and fruit juices, then took a tour of the many stands that bordered the square in front of the town hall. We enjoyed a mini-concert by the group PARADISE, which regaled participants with Antillean music,

© Discover Paris!

and then visited three stands that were of particular interest. The first was for AKAME, an association that promotes products made from Cameroonian cloth.

© Discover Paris!

The next was ARTOK PARIS. This group, along with several others in Paris and the surrounding suburbs, supports the Humaine Promotion of Tokombéré Project. Tokombéré is a town and commune in northern Cameroon. The women of this area create fine baskets, pocketbooks, tablecloths, and other items. Two French women were selling these products at the fair.

© Discover Paris!

Finally, we stopped by the stand for BAŠTINA VOYAGES, an organization that promotes equitable tourism. We met Stefan Buljat, president of the organization, several weeks ago on a walking tour of the Château Rouge quarter of the 18th arrondissement called "Petit Mali" ("Little Mali"). Baština's mission is to encourage the French to travel to countries such as Mali, Senegal, Georgia (former USSR), and Croatia by introducing them to a slice of culture from the destination country before they ever leave Paris.

Stefan Buljat, president of Baština Voyages
© Discover Paris!

In keeping with its mission, Baština is participating in Paris Ville Monde, which is being billed as "a month to tour the world in Paris." Beginning on May 31st with the Bal de l'Afrique Enchantée (Enchanted Africa Ball), the event runs through June 30th. For more information, visit


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