südsinn - fair trade silver jewellery

südsinn is not just a name for us, but a concept.

südsinn would be translated into English as follows: "süd" means south, "sinn" means sense. For us it makes sense to work in and with the South in order to create beautiful products and simultaneously improve our economic and social relationships to built a future where we are all equal in our right to live a life in dignity, prosperity and in an healthy environment.

südsinn is an approved fair trade supplier by the Weltladen Dachverband Deutschland (World Shop Umbrella Association Germany) and the Arbeitsgemeneinschaft Weltläden Österreich ( Working Association of World Shops Austria).

südsinn was founded in 2001 as a result of a student aid project (since 1995). Both südsinn associates are ethnologists/politologists who have lived, researched and worked with the Karen and other minority people in Thailand for many years. We initially started with small aid projects: We built a nursery , sold handicrafts, granted small loans, financed seeds, etc. A little later we started with fair trade. We act in accordance with our own, very exacting fair trade criteria and are very conscious of our responsibility for our suppliers, whom we all know personally. We do trade with handcrafted, high-quality silver jewellery from northern Thailand, which is created by members of the mountain people of the Karen based on our designs. We sell our jewellery wholesale in Germany as well as in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, England and Italy. We supply more than 400 world shops, boutiques and all significant German fair trade regional centres with our jewellery.

 How do we define fair trade?

 Fair trade is a philosophy developed by committed people in the wealthy industrialised countries. It aims to improve the living conditions of poor people in countries and regions where social systems such as unemployment-, pension- and health- insurance do not exist and where under-wage, exploitation and child labour are commonplace. To bring this approach to life, it is not sufficient to pay a few cents more for the products of impoverished producers. In addition to the implementation of fair wages and health insurance, the prohibition of child labour, a great deal of educational and persuasive support must be provided locally, and constant contact and communication are necessary. Fair trade cannot reform or replace social systems in isolated regions. Nevertheless, fair trade can improve the living conditions of many people and promote awareness of dignity, justice and mutual respect. Fair trade is a continuous journey: there are successes as well as setbacks, disappointments and much joy. Many times compromises have to be made: by no means all materials can be obtained from fair extraction. But we must always strive to do everything that is feasible. Fair trade must be

both discussed and further developed. In this context, fair trade must also be economical and professional. Only products that can compete on the market can guarantee sustainable, dignified work and a decent income for all those involved. High product quality and excellent service are therefore also essential.

Norbert Tomforde, südsinn