In July 2012, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) began raising funds and awareness for women in Ethiopia who suffer with childbirth injuries. Right from the beginning, the Hamlin Shop has been an important part of our work.
On our fifth birthday, we asked our Retail Manager, Tanya Seabrook, why she feels privileged to be part of the Hamlin story.
What does it mean for you, personally?
“I’m so proud to be part of Team Hamlin! What a joy to come to work each day, to a place filled with big-hearted people, working to help some of the world’s most marginalised women. It’s very special."
How has the shop grown in five years?
"Five years ago, when Dr Hamlin visited Australia to launch our new charity, we sold scarves, books and calendars. Now, we are a fully-fledged retail business, selling a huge range of ethically made products through our online store, our gift shop and at events around Australia.
We also have partnerships with hospitals, obstetricians and conference organisers – people looking for a meaningful gift for their staff and clients. For example, new mums at North Shore Private Hospital and Melbourne City Obstetrics receive a gorgeous gift from the Hamlin Shop!"
What's the philosophy behind the retail story?
"We're all about empowerment. The Hamlin Shop pays a fair price for products produced at a fair wage by artisans from all over Africa. So when our customers buy a candle or a coffee mug, they are helping to lift a person, a family, and a community out of poverty. We are very proud to say that we're creating jobs in Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Swaziland, Uganda and South Africa.
But there's even more to it than that. The big win-win. All our profits are passed directly to Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, where we provide free, life-changing treatment for women with horrific childbirth injuries. Over the years, proceeds from retail sales have funded obstetric fistula surgeries for hundreds of patients in Ethiopia, completely transforming their lives."
How many people are involved?
"We have a team of about twenty volunteers who cheerfully give their time to help out. The Hamlin Shop relies on these wonderful people to meet and greet customers, pack online orders, and include a handwritten note with every parcel. They also go out into the community and speak about our work in Ethiopia."
It must be great seeing Hamlin Shop products in the hands of customers.
"It sure is. Every product from the Hamlin Shop helps to raise awareness of the plight of our patients. Every scarf, every basket and every necklace is a reason for someone to start a conversation about where it was made, where it was purchased and the impact it will have. That’s tens of thousands of conversations happening all over the world, thanks to our online store.
The Fairtrade movement is growing, and we are growing along with it. We are reaching new customers every day, and delighting them with ethical products that have a purpose.”
Discover the range here.