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Microfinance Club’s Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale Raises over $3,000

Lehigh University’s Microfinance Club supported the efforts of artisans around the world by hosting a Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale at the Bookstore the first week in December.

Lehigh University’s Microfinance Club supported the efforts of artisans around the world by bringing a festival sale featuring handmade gifts, home decor, jewelry and personal accessories to the Lehigh University Bookstore during the first week of December. The event, which was held in the Café in the Bookstore, offered a unique opportunity for people in the Lehigh Valley to invest in their world by shopping fair trade.

This was the first year that the Microfinance Club hosted the festival, and all of the monies raised were sent directly back to Ten Thousand Villages. By hosting the sale, the club had the option of retaining a portion of the funds, but chose to send all $3012 back to the non-profit organization.

Sale organizer Puja Parekh explained the decision, “We didn’t ever think about doing the sale to make a profit for our club. We just wanted to do it because it’s a chance to help create employment opportunities for people around the world.”

Additionally, the Barnes & Noble Café encouraged people to shop the sale by offering half priced beverages to those who could show a receipt from buying something at the sale.

Popular items that got purchased quickly included jewelry, holiday ornaments, and incense. Less popular items were wicker baskets and musical instruments. Overall, two of the three tables covered in merchandise sold by Saturday, when the club packed up the few remaining items to ship back to Ten Thousand Villages.

Festival sales like the one sponsored by the Microfinance Club owe their success to dedicated local volunteers. Microfinance recruited volunteers from other Lehigh organizations to man the register, restock the items, and open and close the sale each day. There was always one executive member from the Microfinance Club represented at the sale as well.

The Microfinance Club is planning to host another sale next year between Thanksgiving and winter break. For more information about Ten Thousand Villages, please visit www.tenthousandvillages.com/home.php.