It is really very simple… Many people in Sri Lanka earn somewhere between £100 – £200 per month in wages. Whether this is as an artisan producer, as a day worker doing manual labour or garment worker in a factory. From their wages they must live and survive – rent, food, transport, supporting children, education and other costs of life… It often leaves very little.
In a way it would be much easier and cheaper (and in reality, what most other suppliers do regardless of what their website marketing story tells you…) to work with a single, larger ‘factory’ to produce our orders, however as Tovi has a full time team on the ground in Sri Lanka we can work directly with the hundreds of our artisanal producers – or as we call them our Tovi family.
Working directly with our artisanal producers means that the money generated from every coconut bowl, coconut wood spoon or bamboo straw that is handmade – does directly to the family that produced it. With our Fairtrade+ approach – we pay our suppliers fairly and immediately upon completion of their handmade products. We are helping our suppliers transition from earning a barely living wage to having a good regular income.
The really magical impact is that we order the same quantity from each supplier every month which ensures that our Tovi family of artisanal suppliers can count on earning regular income which is often double or triple of what they would usually earn.
As we have a team of 15+ people working for Tovi Gifts in Sri Lanka – we actually are able to measure and manage the positive impact we have. Our suppliers often move from simply being an unknown supplier to part of our family, and we can then proudly see the real impact we have. Beyond providing much needed and very rewarding ‘regular wages or earnings’ for the products that our artisan providers deliver, we also provide much needed benefits including financial independence, educational opportunities, mentoring support and quite often additional emergency financial support.