Charlotte OttoTen Thousand Villages
Charlotte Otto

The fact that farmers in the developing world do not always get a fair bargain when they take their products to the market place is a concern for the organization called Ten Thousand Villages.

Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, and with stores throughout the United States, Ten Thousand Villages is preoccupied with creating fair-trade opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn better income from what they produce. The organization states that this practice empowers the hand crafters, many of whom are economically disadvantaged, to build better lives for themselves and their families.

As a boutique business, they trade in “an assortment of handmade home décor, art, jewelry, personal accessories and other global treasures.” The retailer says these items can be purchased at any of its stores worldwide.

As a non-profit entity the organization says that it “invests in dignity, sustainability, education and hope for villages and neighborhoods in more than 36 developing countries.”

Some of the places where it operates include Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa, according to Charlotte Otto, the store manager for the Cherry Creek location.

While they have two stores in Colorado, one at the Cherry Creek shopping mall and another in Fort Collins, on September 18 they opened a satellite location in North East Denver.

Otto, who recently traveled to Indonesia to see the work that artisans are doing in the country, told me they are expanding into the Posner Center for International Development in Denver because of its strategic nature and ability to network with the many international organizations located there.

The center opened its doors in July to more than 20 international development organizations that are working to combat poverty in the developing world.