The beginning of the fair trade in Slovenia goes back into the year 2002. That’s when Humanitas, as a part of the sponsorship programme, started cooperating with a group of women from Burkina Faso, who made cotton products, coloured using a traditional local technique, which utilizes dirt or indigo fabric. In the next years, we cooperated with the Slovene Ethnographic Museum and prepared two sales exhibits, where we also tested the level of openness of the Slovenian market for fair trade store products.
In 2004, we partnered up with organisation Umanotera, the Slovenian Foundation for Sustainable Development, and in December 2004, we opened the first Slovenian fair trade store 3MUHE in Ljubljana.
The store was first run by Umanotera, while Humanitas mainly focused on the development of partnership manufacturers. Because we wanted to expand to wholesaling and more stores, we, together with the printing house Medium, established a co-op Odjuga in May 2008, which was a leading fair trade store in Slovenia for several years. In 2016, we prepared a campaign for collecting resources for the store renovation and an upgrading action of the fair trade movement in Slovenia, in collaboration with the leadership of the fair trade store 3MUHE and the Austrian fair-trade organisation EZA, with the slogan: “A step to a more just world. Take that step with us!” After we finished the successful campaign, the leadership of the 3MUHE store established the Institute for Fair trade, 3MUHE (Zavod za pravično trgovino, 3MUHE) with us, which took over the movement of the fair trade store in Slovenia and started raising awareness of the importance of the functioning system of fair trade in the world and run the fair trade store 3MUHE. Humanitas’ role today is mainly educational, raising awareness of the fair-trade store system while also promoting it. For this purpose, we mainly organise workshops in primary and secondary schools, where young people can get to know the main differences between dominant systems of trading and fair trade stores. The workshops are interactive and encourage more responsible consumption. We also encourage young people to think before they buy something and to ask themselves if they indeed need this item, then check the origin of the product and conditions under which the product was made if they decide to buy it. In this way we encourage them that they, themselves, contribute to a more just way of trading. Beside workshops in the fair-trade store 3MUHE, we occasionally also organise different events, which are intended to raise awareness about global challenges and events as part of our support programme for children and local communities in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Kenya.