The Tenacity Tee | Beyond ethical fair trade clothing by TFOH The Tenacity Tee | Beyond ethical fair trade clothing by TFOH The Tenacity Tee | Beyond ethical fair trade clothing by TFOH
The Tenacity Tee | Beyond ethical fair trade clothing by TFOH The Tenacity Tee | Beyond ethical fair trade clothing by TFOH The Tenacity Tee | Beyond ethical fair trade clothing by TFOH

The Tenacity Tee - Mens

$100.00 CAD

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Tadó is a small town in Chocó, Colombia’s poorest region in the Pacific rainforest. The National Liberation Army (ELN), a Marxist guerrilla, continues to wrestle with state forces in one of the last active areas of Colombia’s armed conflict.

  • Short or long sleeved crew neck
  • Screen printed with the story of The Makers
  • Made of 100% soft combed ringspun cotton

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Beatriz is a good example of what is untrue in the usual poor and lazy stereotypical portrait of the people of Chocó. She is full of energy and strives to make things better around her. A teacher at a local school, she dedicates her free time actively involving herself in other people’s problems and does her best to help to resolve them. She is also the director of La Platina, a dance group designed to keep the local folkloric heritage alive and, at the same time, offer a positive pastime to youth that would otherwise be in danger. For years, she has sewn the dance group’s costumes.

Astrid, Alexander and Silvia make the rest of the base team.

Astrid’s eyes light up when she tells the story of her first times behind her mother’s sewing machine as a child. She was not allowed to touch it, lest she break it. In hiding, she would use any opportunity to have a go at the machine. One time the needle went through her nail and, in fear of being found out, she did not utter a sound (luckily her father had seen her and offered to care for her finger). That is passion.

Alexander is a professional tailor. He does not have children of his own but is proud to support his extended family. Not a small feat for a physically handicapped individual in this part of the world. And it is proof that sewing is, in his own words, “my destiny”.

Silvia’s story is the most touching. Raised by an aunt who did not want her niece to do better than her own children, Silvia was held back from school. She married, and the story repeated itself: the husband restricted her to the house in his need to fill in the shoes of breadwinner. Unable to cope with the role, the husband shot himself in the living room in front of their children. Their youngest was just a baby. Silvia was left no education, no skills and three children to care for. With Beatriz’s support along with that of the community, she “empirically” learned the clothes-making trade and, not short of pain and strife, over the years she has been able to put food on the table, a roof over their heads and put her eldest through university. Her youngest is doing well in school at 15. It is not all rosy: her middle child is an alcoholic at 18. But her story is a tremendous inspiration to overcoming obstacles.

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Tadó is a town of some 10,000 people nested in the thick of the Pacific rainforest and almost exclusively populated by black decedents of former slaves. Until recently, the lack of decent roads kept this town relatively isolated, which is evident in the apparent slow pace of life as people great each other incessantly. But the slow pace is also an ingrained consequence of the lack of jobs. There are no official figures, but we were told that maybe 35% of people have employment. The town traditionally made do sifting for gold, a back-breaking but sustainable lifestyle. However, more recently, outsiders with machinery offered the locals to do the work in exchange of a minimal proportion of the exploit. And exploit they did. They left the overturned soil barren and polluted the pristine rivers with diesel and mercury.

Today, the gold is gone and the town is paying a heavy price, not only environmentally but also socially as the gold rush brought drugs, prostitution and, most notably, the guerillas. For the National Liberation Army (ELN, in Spanish) is present and active in the area. Tadosanos (the people form Tadó) refer to their security situation as the “public order issue”. The ELN often kidnaps Tadosanos for ransom, has laid out mines in the outskirts and even bombed the local police station in late 2014. The military and special forces are since involved in what can be described as a low-intensity conflict zone. It should not be a surprise that this town is out-of-bounds according to US, Canadian and UK official travel advisories.

Up to 20% of the retail price is a donation. By purchasing this product, you help crowdfund and make the project you pick real.

We visit all our communities to find out how first-hand how you can make a difference. During our visit to Tadó, we talked at length about the community’s key risks. Foremost, the acute lack of jobs creates the conditions for individuals to take desperate measures. Their concern goes particularly for the youth, as idling and lack of resources for positive pastimes as well as education lowers the barrier for them to get involved in drugs, prostitution or join the ELN as part of these desperate measures.

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Dance group outfits

Help preserve a unique heritage in Colombia

Tadosanos take pride in their town, and it is clear that their unique blend of African arrangements in otherwise typical Latin-American music and dance help define these people. La Platina, the local dance group, seeks to preserve and showcase their unique culture.

There are few more exciting things for the children of this dance group than to get into new outfits. For 14 years, La Platina’s director has been making their own outfits from whatever materials they could afford. They’d love a new wardrobe!

Purchases allocated to this project provide the materials to make their new outfits. They are eager to do the design, cutting and sewing themselves.

Upon donating to this project, you will receive updates and pictures at the time the supplies are purchased and when they are distributed to the school children.

School supplies for 100 students

Give the tools for an education

Many young students in Tadó come from poor households that do not have money to provide their children with basic school supplies. The Lunatics, a group of local young university graduates and professionals, are ready to purchase these supplies from wholesalers in Medellín and deliver them back in Tadó.

Purchases allocated to this project provide each of one-hundred children, aged eight to ten, a backpack with three notepads, two pens, two pencils, an eraser, a sharpener and a small box of colour pencils. Having these supplies would help mitigate part of the effects of extreme poverty on their education.

The Lunatics have delivered school supplies in the past. Darlington Yurgaky is the Lunatics’ president. “The happiness in the kids when we deliver [these] at their schools is the real measure of this initiative”, he says. In fact, TFOH founder Nahuel was present in Tadó as the Lunatics prepared the distribution in 2015. “The kids were certainly excited, but so were the Lunatics. The whole experience seemed really empowering for everybody”, he recalls.

Upon donating to this project, you will receive updates and pictures at the time the supplies are purchased and when they are distributed to the school children.

Basketball gear

Enable positive pastimes in a conflict zone

The lack of resources has been extremely limiting in offering children in Tadó the possibility to play sports when not in school. The Lunatics, a group of local young university graduates and professionals dreaming of ways to improve their community, recommend that we purchase basketball equipment and donate it to the sports association Mineritos.

Purchases allocated to this project provide the equipment would directly benefit the 20 children of Mineritos and their coach. And it would also be enjoyed more widely as it would be shared through the sports office of the Tadó township.

The package includes five basketballs, five tall sports cones, 10 short sports cones, one three-meter ladder, a stopwatch, a writing pad, four erasable markers, a whistle and a net to carry the basketballs.

Upon donating to this project, you will receive pictures of the children with their new basketball equipment.