Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Improving Lives of African Families; Coast Fair-Trade Business Builds Ties with Communities

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Improving Lives of African Families; Coast Fair-Trade Business Builds Ties with Communities

Article excerpt

Byline: Kristen Booth

IT'S a long way between Eumundi and Africa but a Sunshine Coast couple is closing the gap by creating ties through community-based projects.

A strong love for rural Africa was the driving force that led Pru and Murray McMillan to set up a business to help disadvantaged communities with employment, and bettering their quality of life.

Founders of social enterprise Community Projects Worldwide, Pru and Murray have been partnering with existing groups in underprivileged regions for 17 years, supporting the creation of handmade products.

"We are not a charity, although we have some not-for-profit relationships with suppliers," Pru said.

"We deal with our suppliers on a commercial basis under the philosophy of fair trade. This way we ensure that the business (for them as well as us) is sustainable into the future."

Located at Eumundi Square, Community Projects Worldwide stocks home dA[c]cor, kitchen items, jewellery, toys and fashion accessories from numerous cultures around the globe.

The fair-trade business ensures all products have been ethically sourced.

"There are so many people and groups around the world needing support to bring their products to market," Pru said.

"If necessary we will work with them in the early stages to refine the products and improve quality."

The McMillans' passion for Africa started when they were managing safari lodges in Botswana, where they were surrounded by the natural wonders of the country. Elephants would walk past the windows and the lions' roar could be heard from the lodge.

"Africa gets under your skin," Pru said. "You certainly develop a love for the place, the people and the animals."

Pru and Murray founded their business as a platform to work with and support small local groups as they wanted to keep in touch with Africa and the local people upon their return to Australia. …

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