2011 was a busy year for local fair trade marketplace Yobel Market.
Among the list of accomplishments: $2,200 given to clean-water programs; 64 goats given to projects in Rwanda and Uganda; seven women who learned to sew in Juarez, Mexico, and $15,000 given to build a school in Uganda.
The school in Uganda was the most exciting achievement this year for Yobel Market co-founder Donovan Kennedy. According to Kennedy, the school was four years in the making and was the result of three components: work by the local elementary schools; the Market setting aside a third of their profits for the project, and money that came from selling bricks in the store.
Kennedy adds that the school was a huge community need and saves a lot of kids from what would otherwise be a two-hour trek every day.
Yobel Market, located at 2528 W. Colorado Ave., also engaged in four "exposure trips" in 2011, which Kennedy says translates to "exposing our culture to theirs." These trips usually consist of between four to 25 volunteers, who pay their own way. These volunteers do anything from helping women out of prostitution by teaching them to sew or make journals which are sold in the store, to providing to some manual labor for the building of the school in Uganda.
"[This is] an opportunity for a job with dignity," Kennedy says.
In March 2012, Yobel Market is looking forward to another trip to Uganda where they will be doing some business training with the hopes of making their students a little more self-sufficient.
Kennedy and co-founder Sarah Ray also hope to receive nonprofit status for the Market, having submitted an application to the IRS in December.