Monday, February 20, 2017

International Mother Language Day

A language is more than just words and sounds. Through language we can understand one another’s culture, heritage and ethnicity. And today Australia is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries. There are over 200 languages spoken in Australia, and of these around 50 are indigenous languages. However these are only spoken by approximately 0.3% of our population, therefore preserving and developing these languages is critical to sustaining the traditions of Australia’s indigenous past.

Likewise literacy is a key instrument in lifting people out of poverty, whether through securing employment or accessing adequate health and education services. Many of the producers that we support at the Oxfam Fair Trade WA shop direct their profits into programs aimed at sustaining the languages that underpin the culture of a society.

TARA Projects, an artisan based community in India offers adult literacy classes to its members, empowering women into enterprise, overcoming poverty and exploitation. They create a range of decorative ornaments and jewellery, many of which you can see in our shop.

MAI Handicrafts originated with the goal of providing informal literacy classes to disadvantaged children who could not afford to go to school in Vietnam. Through producing their handicrafts, they have been able to expand their aims into tying social development into economic self-reliance. 

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