Posted on

The Power of Community

Before we set off for Africa it was wonderful to see the support from our small community.

A huge “Thankyou” to Kathy (my mother in law) for knitting these 160 premmie baby beanies , to give to Penny (my sisters mother in law) who then gives them to a hospital in Sth Africa. These are so greatly appreciated, and what a lovely way to start our trip by delivering such a package.

Also a  big “Thankyou” to the kids, parents, and teacher at Matthew’s  school who contributed to this lovely bundle of hats and “pen pal” letters. I know the Moya kids, teachers and volunteers will love this, and reading the letters will be really interesting and exciting for them. Hopefully we will have some lovely letters to bring back.

They say it “Takes a village to raise a child” which is so true and powerful, however we all need that village – whatever our age – to support and encourage us.

It is the little things that can make a difference.

Not everyone can build a school, or create a foundation,  but knitting a beanie or donating a hat is still significant. Small contributions add to something greater, a feeling of connection, teaching our kids about other lifestyles outside of their own, a random act of kindness , enjoying the joy of giving.

Buying Fair Trade is a choice, it connects you to a culture usually different to your own, and it shows people you care about the world you are living in, and the people in it.

We love our buying trips where we can connect with our groups, and the people who have become our friends over the years.

We love to place our orders, and see the difference the income makes to so many individual families and communities.

But most of all – we love to give the wonderful “small” contributions our “village” has made for us.

Thankyou xx

Posted on

How it all began…

How it all began in 1992 …. Our journey towards Fair Trade

Barely in our 20’s we, like many young Australians, left home to discover the world and inadvertently discovered ourselves and a fulfilling career.

We spent 10 years travelling and working in hospitality which included extensive travel through Africa, running safari lodges in Botswana, a wilderness lodge in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and working in a number of wilderness lodges in Far North Queensland.

Our last hospitality position was leasing and running a farm holiday and horse riding operation on the 15,000 acre Millamolong Station in the central west of NSW.

It was time for a change and we missed Africa. Whilst we loved the safari industry and our work in it, returning to it was not an option despite being offered roles at the now quite renowned Conservation Corporation in its early days.

We wanted to start a family and decided Australia was the place for that, so we moved to the Sunshine Coast and created Kalahari Trading . A business that we hoped would keep us connected to Africa and everything we loved about it, the wilderness, the people and the beautiful hand craft that says so much about the culture and resourcefulness of its population.

In 2007 Community Projects Worldwide was established as a retail business at Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast and in 2008 we opened another retail shopfront in Port Macquarie in NSW.

Today we run Kalahari Trading as a wholesale supplier to retailers throughout Australia, and Community Projects Worldwide caters to our own retail customers.

During this time we have expanded our reach to South America and South East Asia.

We are a social enterprise (although we do have some charitable products , and we support an organisation in Swaziland that helps child headed households) . It has always been our intention to build a sustainable model that will survive beyond our own humble endeavours.

We take great pride in working with all our suppliers who are all hard working, honest and smart people doing what they can to support themselves and their families, often under difficult social and geographic conditions. We have had relationships with many of our suppliers for close to 20 years and you can read about them on our ‘meet the artisan’ page of this site.

We adhere to all the principles of Fair Trade in conducting our business.  All our suppliers are paid their asking price and we supply deposits to facilitate cash flow. We all work together in a mutual relationship of respect, trust and consideration.

Today we still live on the Sunshine Coast have two beautiful children and travel to Africa, South America and South East Asia often to work with our groups.

We hope you find something you like, and please let us know if we can do anything for you.

Thanks for your support

Murray & Pru McMillan