By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 8th annual PAMBE Ghana Global Market, a seasonal fair trade shop, opens Thursday, November 5, from 12 to 6 p.m. at 6516 N. Olie in Oklahoma City. It continues Tuesdays through Saturdays through December 23. The Market provides destination shopping for unusual holiday gifts, including a wide selection of folk art from around the world.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, the Global Market sells products from around the world purchased directly from artisans or from certified members of the Fair Trade Federation.
A nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma City, PAMBE Ghana is a partnership with local communities in northern Ghana. Its name stands for “Partnership for Mother Tongue-based Bilingual Education” in West Africa.
The public is invited to attend the Global Market Grand Opening on Friday, November 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. Executive Director Alice Iddi-Gubbels, founder of PAMBE Ghana and the La’Angum Learning Center located in northern Ghana, will be in attendance.
Products at the Global Market come from countries such as Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Ghana, Burkina Faso, India and Indonesia.
This year, there is a special focus on products made by Nepali artisans, who were adversely affected by that country’s deadly earthquakes in April and May.
“These items are something you can feel good about buying,” said Linda Temple, market volunteer product coordinator.
Fair trade principles include a guarantee that artisans are paid a fair price in the local context when the products leave their hands. They also receive assistance with quality control, design, and improved working conditions.
“The many products we offer are all handmade by individuals who are paid a fair wage for their work. They are beautiful and make great personal use and gift items,” said Temple.
“Purchases from the Market give triple benefits by pleasing the recipient, supporting the artist who made it, and benefiting PAMBE Ghana,” Temple added.
“The educational program, which began in 2008, teaches children in grades pre-K through sixth to become proficient in English and in the language of their village,” Alice stated.
“I am passionate about quality basic education for children that starts with and builds on the local language and culture in poor, rural and under served areas,” she continued.
“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.
“I want to make a contribution to my native community,” Alice said. “It contributed to who I am now, and I want to give back in a way that will have a significant impact.”
This summer, PAMBE Ghana public relations representative Jane Wheeler and other members and supporters of the organization were able to visit the Learning Center.
“PAMBE Ghana’s Global Market features necklaces and bracelets made by the women of the Go Home project in Gambaga,” Wheeler said. “The Go Home project provides a refuge and skills training to women that have been accused of being witches and are cast out of their villages.
“Women living in the Go Home project and others in Ghana wear clothes made of wax batik cotton fabric,” Wheeler added. “Shoppers at the Global Market can always find a nice collection of batik yardage, placemats, and table runners.
“This year, we have some special items for pet lovers,” Wheeler said. “One of our fellow travelers, Kristin Williamson, has made dog leashes and collars out of the colorful fabric and donated them to the Market.”
On Saturday, November 14, a celebration of PAMBE Ghana themed “Red Dirt Rising” will take place at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 127 NW 7th Street, in Oklahoma City, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The evening will feature dinner, music by local artist Jamie Bramble and a photographic presentation of the La’Angum Learning Center.
Alice will inform guests about the organization’s progress and how “many hands joined together to create the vibrant school from a barren hilltop.”