Ten Thousand Villages Lincoln was started by a small group of people right here in Lincoln 35 years ago. These people saw a unique opportunity to affect change in alleviating poverty on a global scale, specifically with marginalized people in developing nations. They started very small, by purchasing fair trade handicrafts and selling them in their church basement. As they were able to purchase more and more, they realized they could think even bigger and start a store to support these artisan makers all over the globe! They eventually opened a store front and kept on growing into the non-profit, fair trade store we are today. We are our own non-profit organization, with our own board of directors and a large pool of committed volunteers!
As one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages has spent more than 60 years cultivating trading relationships in which artisans receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to distinctive handcrafted items. We seek to establish long-term buying relationships in places where skilled artisans are under- or unemployed, and in which they lack other opportunities for income. A founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Ten Thousand Villages sees fair trade as an alternative approach to conventional international trade.