by Major Shirley King
An opportunity to increase the spread of Others, The Salvation Army’s “Trade for Hope” enterprise, has been broadened through the establishment of the first-ever Others Global Board of Management. The board will give strategic direction, act as guardians of the Others Global brand and ensure the ongoing transparency and accountability of Others Global.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Merle Heatwole, international secretary for business administration, the board will seek ways to grow the international market. Currently, Others products are available online (www.tradeforhope.com) and directly to customers in Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and the U.S. The intention is to grow this market over the coming years, starting with the opportunity to showcase Others items in Café 101 at International Headquarters (IHQ) in London. This, in turn, will raise the profile of the initiative beyond a Salvation Army audience, with the goal being to increase the number of producers who are guaranteed a fair wage.
The establishment of the Global Board of Management—later ratified by the International Management Council at IHQ—took place at a meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, of the council that oversees the worldwide connections of Others. The Others Global Council consists of representatives from producer countries including Bangladesh, Kenya and Pakistan and distributing countries including the USA, Canada and Norway.
The chair of the council, Commissioner Heatwole, along with Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton and Major Brian Slous from IHQ, and Bo Christoffer Brekke (Others Global general manager), guided the discussions. Visits were made to Salvation Army production sites and projects in Dhaka, Old Dhaka, Jashore and the corps in Shankurpur.
At production sites in Bangladesh, the international visitors were greeted with exuberant joy. Producers shared their gratitude for the opportunities they have received through Others, but some implored the council members to provide more work!
Stories of transformation were shared at every site. One woman gave thanks that The Salvation Army had provided her with a haven where she learns a new skill, hears the gospel, shares productive hours with other women and, as a result of her work with embroidered hearts, is earning a fair wage to provide food, medicine, shelter and education for her children.
It became clear that each creation of handcrafted items by gifted artisans—a cloth bag, an apron, a tea towel, a designer scarf made on a hand loom or a power loom, an embroidered heart—represents the potential to make a world of difference as producers partner with people around the globe.