By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The 12th annuel PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market will open on Tuesday, October 29, on the first floor of 50 Penn Place, 1900 NW Expressway, in Oklahoma City. The market is a popular source for holiday shopping.
The seasonal fair trade market will take place at the west end of the first floor, across from the ground floor entrance to Belle Isle Brewery. The space has been donated by In-Rel Properties.
PAMBE Ghana is Oklahoma’s largest fair trade venue, with over 50 volunteers staffing the market from 12 – 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., on Saturdays. The Market will close for the season at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24.
“For the past twelve years, the Global Market has provided Oklahomans with an opportunity to purchase unique art and unusual gifts made by artisans in developing countries, while supporting an elementary school in northern Ghana,” said organizers.
The Global Market Grand Opening party will be held on Saturday, November 2, from 6 – 8 p.m. featuring PAMBE Ghana’s founder and executive director Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels. The public is invited.
All Global Market merchandise is fair trade – purchased from all over the world directly from artisans and producers, or are purchased through fair trade businesses (members of the Fair Trade Federation or TransFair USA).
Fair trade means artisans and producers are paid a fair price for their product. Other fair trade criteria guarantee safe working conditions, quality control, marketing assistance, no child labor, and a continuing, supportive relationship between sellers and buyers.
Proceeds from the market go to benefit the La’Angum Learning Center, a school for children in pre-school through sixth grade in rural northern Ghana. The Center’s founder, Alice Iddi-Gubbels, first came to Oklahoma City in 2000 with her husband, Peter, who worked at World Neighbors.
Alice earned a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Oklahoma City University, as well as certification in Montessori Teaching. While teaching at Westminster School in Oklahoma City she dreamed of starting a Montessori school for children in her village in northern Ghana.
In 2007 Alice founded PAMBE Ghana as a registered not-for-profit organization.
The Learning Center’s first classroom was built in 2008 by members of the local community. It started with 40 students in pre-school, and a trained faculty of three teachers. With the addition of a grade each year, there are now 279 students from Pre-school through Grade 6, served by a staff of 23,
“I want to make a contribution to my native community,” said Alice. “It contributed to who I am now, and I want to give back in a way that will have a significant impact.
“I am passionate about basic quality education for children that starts with and builds on the local language and culture in poor, rural and underserved areas,” she added. “As PAMBE Ghana progresses in developing this innovative method in different communities where there are no schools, my intention is to support existing public schools interested in adapting and applying this approach.
The Global Market began in 2008 to raise awareness for Oklahomans of PAMBE Ghana’s La’Angum Learning Center and to Fair Trade.
The market ensures that all purchases serve a triple benefit by pleasing the recipient, supporting the artist who made it, and benefiting PAMBE Ghana.
Global Market volunteers are well versed about Fair Trade and about the La’Angum Learning Center and are eager to share interesting stories about Market products and the school.
“The Global Market gets a little bit bigger — and better — every year,” said Tom Temple, President, PAMBE Ghana Board of Directors. “The amazing work of our volunteers covers a significant part of PAMBE Ghana’s annual budget, paying teachers’ salaries and providing a hot lunch every day for 279 students. I hope that everyone who shops there realizes how much they are contributing.”