Bartering is not Dead – Directors Welcome

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Maria Grewar

Welcome to our first official Blog Post! The purpose of our blog is to engage meaningfully with topics and discussion points related to The Retrade Project, Nelson Mandela Bay & the environmental issues we see impacting our community. The ReTrade Project is a non-profit company which was launched in March 2014. The project was formed around the need to provide a value-for-value centred method when dealing with those in need rather than a hand-out centred approach. The project’s earliest beginnings were part of a church’s (Fountain Vineyard, Port Elizabeth) outreach to the poor and needy who came hoping for assistance for their most basic physical needs.

Although well-meaning, a “hand out” food pantry enables an attitude of entitlement rather than empowering people in moving forward with dignity. The Retrade model is an exchange of goods could take place between parties rather than one hand constantly giving and the other taking, dignity and mutual respect could be restored. Thus, the ReTrade Project was born! After a few brainstorming sessions, it was clear that the most accessible commodity that all people have access to is rubbish. Therefore, it seemed logical to start a project where people could bring their rubbish or recyclable goods, the new currency, and exchange them for essential items such as food, toiletries, clothes and blankets. It also raised an important aspect of educating the local community about rubbish and recycling and encouraged further initiative in caring for the earth and looking at the effects of greener living. The ReTrade Project began operating on nothing but donations from the local community, to exchange goods and to promote the idea that bartering is not dead but fully alive and capable of restoring dignity, promoting good work ethic and helping others with a hand-up in life rather than a hand-out. The project has grown from strength to strength.

Presently, the ReTrade Project is aiding between many local families per week with food, clothes, toiletries and blankets and is recycling nearly 2 tonnes of recyclable material per month. Our income from the recycling is collected and invested back into our trading store. As our traders increase our need for continued donations increases too.