TAMPA - What if you could shop in Tampa and also help build a better life for workers in other countries who live in poverty? A Tampa woman hopes her business will start a new trend in the Bay area.
Sita Monti wants her shop Liv Afrika to be the first in this area to be a member of the Fair Trade Federation-- a non-profit dedicated to alleviating poverty around the world and helping guaranteeing consumers their dollars are helping the poorest of people around the world.
Monti realized the first part of her dream this week when she opened Liv Afrika.
And by opening her doors, she opened a whole new world for women, including the mothers she met in South Africa on mission trips.
She captured their faces on video and pictures and their stories of struggle seized her heart.
"A lot of these women are raising AIDS orphans. In my work in particular it is about empowering these women and transforming their lives," said Monti.
Monti took their goods, their baskets, their chickens made of recycled plastic and even asked them to craft jewelry tailored to Bay area consumers,
"University of Florida, Florida State they did USF, they did some Rays necklaces and bracelets," said Monti.
Then this week she opened her small shop-with big dreams. She wants to be the first member of the Fair Trade Federation in the Bay area Already most of the goods in her store have been approved by the non-profit and met the criteria.
"They were paid a living wage was not made in sweat shop and it was not child labor," said Monti.
Monti is pushing to be a member, not only because she believes in the cause but wants to take it one step further. If the Fair Trade Federation approves her application the work done by women she met on her mission, will also meet the criteria and hopefully create more demand for their products.
"This gives them a chance at competing in an international market," said Monti.
Her message is spreading. Debbie Eppard heard through friends about the new shop. She feels not only is she getting a unique item, she's making a difference.
"She's met them, she's talked to them, she knows their stories, it's a great thing she is doing," said Eppard.
"I think what she is doing is awesome."
There are only three fair trade stores in Florida--the closest in Sarasota.
Liv Afrika is located at 3403 S. MacDill Avenue Tampa, Fla. 33629
Learn more about her shop at www.LivAfrika.com
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.