It is our mission to ignite hope for marginalized people in Turkey by creating employment opportunities based on Fair Trade principles and by fostering integration into the local community.
It is our vision to model and reproduce Fair Trade principles among small businesses in our community, in Turkey and beyond.
Manfred (German) and Debrah (Canadian) have been involved in business ever since they came to Istanbul, Turkey in 1999. Over the years they began developing relationships with locals and artisans in nearby Nicaea, a historically renowned town known today as Iznik. As well as being famous for its ceramic art, Iznik is a favorite weekend get a way for nearby cities dwellers who wish to enjoy the natural beauty of the Iznik Lake and surrounding countryside.
In 2011 M&D purchased a small home and moved to Iznik. Not long afterwards, the first Syrian refugees started to arrive in search of work. M&D started to pray about a new business activity in which they could engage with the local community and the refugees. In 2016 they decided to start a business creating olive wood products as large numbers of olive trees were being pulled out to make room for new residential areas, roads, plus farmers wanting to plant more profitable fruit plantations.
In its 5th year of business, Living Traditions became a provisional member of the World Fair Trade Organization WFTO in 2020 and in 2023 Guaranteed membership was granted. To date Living Traditions works with staff and external producers from Syrian and other minority backgrounds as well as locals.
In addition to the daily work activities, weekly meetings are done to discuss orders, share ideas, problem solving, listening to each other’s needs, which provide opportunities to strengthen team spirit and the commitment to Fair Trade.
M&D desire to see Living Traditions business grow, for their employees to develop in character and skills, and to increase its impact into the local community by seeking to cooperate with other local businesses and artisans.