Market stall sells freedom

“Great quality for a great cause,” is how Gordonton Country Market chairperson Peter Brown describes the works of Freeset, the fair-trade bag and clothing-making company that made its first appearance at the Market last week.

The stall was helmed by Lesley and John Clements, friends of active Freeset member Pamela McCarthy and firm believers in the organisation’s cause: helping women in India leave the sex trade.

“Pamela and her daughter saw a need for these people to be taken off the streets when they went to Calcutta,” says Lesley.

“So they set up a factory, started teaching these women to sew. All the materials used are recycled, things like coffee bags or old sari cloth, and they’re very good quality.”

John says the the women are given a second chance. “These women don’t enter the sex trade willingly; they’re lured in under false pretenses, told they’re being put into labor so they can finally earn some money.

“All the prostitutes tend to hang out in one area, so Freeset just approaches them and offers them a chance to participate. It not only allows them to escape sex, but to learn new skills, send their kids to school, and so on. There are now around 200 people working in the factory.”

Pamela McCarthy is currently in Kolkata, where she spends a month every year working on behalf of Freeset, and the women they are aiming to… well… set free.

However, she also dedicates much of her time in New Zealand to the organisation as well.

“Pamela actually works the Tamahere market, while we work Gordonton,” says Lesley.

And their thoughts on the Gordonton Market, gentle reader?

“Gordonton is great, there’s plenty of space and we’re very happy to be here. We know quite a few people so it’s nice to see lots of familiar faces here as well.

“The scene in Gordonton is beautiful, very village feel; we’re looking forward to being at the market from now on.”

*Story and pictures by Number 8 Network’s new reporter Ciaran Warner.

*For Waikato Times’  Denise Irvine’s  profile on Pamela McCarthy, click here.

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