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Fair Trade Federation Principle #2

Print Shop Staff- Kansas City


Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships

Wouldn’t it be nice to know where the fabric of your shirt came from? Wait… what’s even in this fabric? Who made it? How much were they paid? Were they treated fairly?


What story does my shirt tell?



The second principle Fair Trade Federation members must exemplify is radical transparency.



Transparency creates accountability from customers to make sure companies maintain open, fair, consistent, and respectful partnerships. The entire trading chain must be shared through proactive communication to ensure that producers and customers feel actively involved in the process. Maybe most importantly, when we make mistakes, we must work humbly and cooperatively with partners to implement solutions.


Here’s how GOEX opens the door (literally) to reveal all the things you’ve wanted to know or never even thought to ask:



LIFE Apparel Staff – Haiti


USA Fabric —

We pay more for USA fabric because we can verify the origin of our goods from the cotton fields to finishing. We can visit any of the manufacturers involved in producing our raw materials.


Open Door Policy —

We have an open door policy both in our sewing facility in Haiti and in our print shop in Kansas City. When you visit either facility, you’re encouraged to talk with employees and get a better understanding of how we support the people who make your clothes.


Working Cooperatively —

Making a difference in entrenched systems is hard. The Fair Trade space is full of trial and error and we’re not the exception. We’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned many lessons.  And we’re always willing to share those lessons with other Fair Trade companies. From pay scales in Haiti to sales strategies in the US, we see the value in dialogue with companies working alongside us to make a difference for marginalized workers.


Employee Empowerment —

We want employees at every level of our organization to feel respected, engaged and part of the team. We send all employees in Kansas City to Haiti so they can understand our manufacturing and the impact it has on workers there. In Haiti, we work closely with the employees, union representatives and line supervisors to ensure any issues are addressed and resolved quickly and with respect.


Pricing Model —

We are completely transparent with our pricing model. After costs to produce premium apparel and provide living wage jobs, all GOEX profit — every bit of it — goes to fund projects set in motion by The Global Orphan Project.




You’re invited!


So, we invite you to come visit us — in Kansas City or in Haiti. See first-hand where your fabric came from, who made it, or how was printed. And keep putting the pressure on businesses to remain fair, honest, and transparent.



Fair Trade Federation Principle #1


We recently announced our membership into the Fair Trade Federation. The term “fair trade” is claimed by many, but fewer than 200 companies have been screened, verified and accepted by the FTF. This honor is followed by a commitment to uphold the nine principles on which FTF was founded.


We work each day to prove we are a business who does business differently. 





Principle #1: Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.



Poverty alleviation and sustainable development begins with thoughtful, careful partnerships. Makers, developers, producers, farmers, suppliers — they are the soul of craft and trade. However, these producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods. FTF businesses should recognize this disparity and seek to create long term partnerships that prioritize the producers and their communities before anything else.



Over the years, as we fought with genuine hearts to break the orphan cycle, we learned many humbling lessons. One of the most important truths we have learned: The best form of orphan care is orphan prevention, and the best form of orphan prevention is a strong job.





Creating partnerships — in Haiti and in Kansas City



Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with an 85% unemployment rate. Workers in the apparel industry in Haiti work six days per week for a minimum wage that barely covers their daily expenses. It is our goal to disrupt that thought process and prove a company can charge more and pay more, therefore elevating the lives of their employees allowing them to care for their families and build a better future.



In Kansas City, we partner with the Full Employment Council to provide internships for disadvantaged young adults in the urban core and then connect qualified candidates with job opportunities within our network or hire them ourselves if we have openings.



The Story Continues 

This story started with a child, grew into an apparel company, prioritized the worker, and now continues with you. 


When you purchase a GOEX tee or select GOEX for fulfillment services, you are assured your choice supports marginalized people in both Haiti and the United States. And, because we’re solely owned by The Global Orphan Project, 100% of our profits are reinvested to support families in the U.S. and around the world. 


T-SHIRT IMPACT | Helping Refugees and Families in Lebanon

What does it mean for GOEX to care for kids? Sometimes caring for kids looks like supporting the whole family unit to keep children with their biological parents in a safe and loving home. We want to share with you the stories of three families impacted through your shopping choices.


Because you chose to care for others through your GOEX purchase, three families found safety and stability.


Saana’s* family sought refuge with a church in Lebanon after her husband was kidnapped and killed by ISIS. A partner of The Global Orphan Project, Tyre Church helped her find employment to support her family and ensured that she and her children had a safe place to live. Today, Saana’s family is back on their feet through GOEX customers’ purchases and the support of The Global Orphan Project.





The Amon family has four children under age 4 — including 5-month-old twins. Their father successfully provided a stable income as a carpenter until he recently sustained a work injury and three of his fingers were amputated. No longer able to work at his craft, he lost his job. The family, in a time of crisis, incurred many financial strains, including the costs of his surgery, caring for newborn twins, and normal family expenses like rent and food. During the 4-month healing process, the family reached out to our local church partner for help. Your t-shirt purchases have helped this church support the family during their time of crisis.




Orphaned at a young age after her parents passed away in an accident, Maya was eventually placed in the care of her aunt. Maya became a wife and mother to two children, but her husband was kidnapped and never found. After approaching the United Nations for refugee status, she and her children were moved Syria. The family arrived to a hostile environment and, once again, found themselves in danger. After much effort, Maya and her family were relocated to Lebanon. Upon arrival, they were told of a church that could support them, take them in, and help them begin to heal.


Maya is a fighter, and her family is now moving forward with a safe home and support system. Your GOEX purchases have helped provide a stable place for them to live and school scholarships for the children.






You vote for the change you want to see with each dollar you spend. Thank you for standing for dignity, restoration, and hope through your purchases!




*Names have been changed to protect the identity of these families and children.



T-SHIRT IMPACT | Food for Kids


44 children in Gulu, Uganda experienced the impact of the GOEX customer community’s purchases this year. All the profit — every bit of it — from GOEX apparel goes directly to care for children around the world. This project funded their basic life care — including food, shelter, medical care, education and 24-hour care for three months.


Gulu is located in northern Uganda, an area ravaged by HIV/AIDS and 20-plus year civil war that saw a multitude of people killed, children forced into a rebel army (Lord’s Resistance Army), and families ripped apart. To say there’s a need for orphan care in northern Uganda would be a dramatic understatement. Local partners of The Global Orphan Project (GO) opened The Father’s House, a children’s community in Gulu, in 2012.





The children at The Father’s House live in small groups with “house mamas” who provide 24-hour, family-style care. They eat together, play together and learn together.


Thank you, GOEX community, for caring for kids around the world through the power of your purchase.



Shop tees.


Haiti to Paris and Back Again


Meet Melissa Coles. Coles is the Director of Product Development at GOEX’s production facility in Haiti — LIFE S.A.


After growing up in Haiti, Coles studied fashion as an undergraduate student in the U.S., before going on to obtain her masters in Paris.


“I studied fashion design and specialized in high fashion in France,” Coles said. “I was lucky enough to get an amazing internship with Chanel and work with a ton of amazing women.”


Her heart brought her home

Coles completed her studies and internship, and her heart brought her home to Haiti. Her aunt, Paula Coles, is also a designer and deeply invested in Haiti through fashion and innovation.


“I came back to Haiti to be close to my family, and I originally wanted to start my own business,” Coles said. “But I came to visit LIFE, did a tour, and thought it was amazing. I’ve never seen a place like this.”

Shortly after, Melissa decided to join us. GOEX and LIFE S.A. are committed to Haitian leadership. The team recognized the powerful combination of Coles’ talent, expertise, and desire to invest in her country.



“It is so organized at LIFE. You just don’t often see that here in Haiti. And people are happy!” Coles said. “And the story is powerful. If there was anyone I would want to work for in Haiti, it would definitely be an ethical company like this one.”


Coles works with our team at LIFE to produce apparel that looks as good as it feels. We are honored you are on the team, Melissa.


GOEX is Better Work Certified



GOEX, the brand that cares for kids, is proud to be a Better Work certified organization. What does that mean? It means that our partner production facility — LIFE S.A.— goes above and beyond the highest labor standards internationally.


The Better Work certification is one of the most difficult certifications to obtain.


“Our vision is a global garment industry that lifts millions of people out of poverty by providing decent work, empowering women, driving business competitiveness and promoting inclusive economic growth.” —Better Work


Meet Olivier.

A little over a year ago during LIFE S.A.’s annual audit, Olivier Desire, a Better Work auditor, fell in love with GOEX. He now serves full time as our operations manager in Haiti.



“When I came here, I really liked the ambiance, but the story really blew my mind. I was amazed by the mission of GOEX and LIFE S.A. What I like most about the GOEX team is really the people, because we’re not just making t-shirts. I feel so proud to be part of the team.”


When you purchase any GOEX product, not only does 100% of the profit go to help care for kids through The Global Orphan Project, but you also create living wage jobs and help keep families together. You can be confident that you are partnering for the welfare of kids and families around the world.


A t-shirt never felt so good.


T-SHIRT IMPACT | Caring for Kalkedon


Meet Kalkedon. Every time you shop GOEX, all the profit goes to fund projects set in motion to help children like her. By collectively purchasing 4,800 tees, the GOEX customer community is partnering with The Global Orphan Project to provide Kalkedon and 35 other children full-time care for one year, including their daily food, shelter, medical care, and education costs.


Kalkedon was born in rural Ethiopia. When her mother and father died, her elderly grandmother cared for her as long as she could. As her grandmother’s health began to fail, Kalkedon was discovered and taken into care by a church partnering with The Global Orphan Project in Hossana, Ethiopia.


As the church cared for Kalkedon, a constant “cold” soon led to the discovery the young girl was HIV positive and weakening.


The news about this child stirred deep fear in the community. Due to a lack of education and training, a serious HIV/AIDS stigma remains in this area of Ethiopia. During a visit from The Global Orphan Project team, the pastor of the church expressed fear and pressure from the town to send her back to the countryside. But his compassion overwhelmed his fears. The pastor and his church vowed to take a stand for Kalkedon, no matter the cost.


Kalkedon stayed and continues to receive the care she needs. She is completely healthy today — strong, loving and going to school. She is part of the family.



A t-shirt never felt so good.


Thank you for investing in kids like Kalkedon by choosing GOEX.


Starting with premium U.S.A. fabric, we produce premium apparel that feels as good as it looks. From the apparel production center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to our screenprinting facility in Kansas City, MO, GOEX employees receive a living wage in life-honoring conditions rooted in our belief in the transformational value of work and opportunities that foster dignity and hope. And all our profit — every bit of it — goes directly to fund projects for vulnerable children in the U.S. and around the world.



Do you or someone you know need basic or custom shirts for your business, organization or event? We invite you to spread the word about the brand that cares for kids, and shop GOEX.



GOEX is an initiative of The Global Orphan Project, a global community caring for local children and families in crisis.


T-SHIRT IMPACT | 1,000 Kids Helped in August


To the GOEX Customer Community –


Thank you. Because you chose to care for kids through the purchase of your apparel, The Global Orphan Project was able to meet three huge needs in the month of August.



370 Children | Education in Pothawira, Malawi


Pothawira means “safe haven” in Chichewa, Malawi’s native language. The Global Orphan Project’s church partners have provided a safe haven for all of the children in local care. Because of your purchases, you have provided the educational fees for 370 children for the upcoming school year.



587 Students | GO Transition Academy in Haiti


$5,400 covers a stipend for each of the 27 students at the GO Transition Academy. In The Global Orphan Project’s core ministry, they encounter the obvious: little kids become big kids. What happens when children become adults, and “age out” of care? The GO Transition Academy is a 2-year vocational school that steps into the critical transition from childhood to adulthood.


These students make, on average, 560 garments to be worn by students in the GO Project schools across Haiti. The child impact of this needs is: 27 + 560 = 587.



100 Children & Families | Medical Needs in Hyderabad, India


All of the profit from 2,600 t-shirts purchased in August is being used to cover monthly expenses for children and families impacted by HIV medical clinics in Hyderabad, India. This will impact more than 100 children and families overall



Your Next Custom T-Shirt Order


Need tees for your church, business or event? With every GOEX t-shirt you purchase, all of the profit goes directly to care for children in the care of our local church partners.



T-SHIRT IMPACT | Caring for Kids in Northern Uganda


“Where will I buy my t-shirts?”  It can seem like a simple, possibly inconsequential decision. But what if you knew hundreds of children and families could be affected by that seemingly small decision?


Every time you shop GOEX, you choose life. You choose dignified work in a clean, bright manufacturing facility for employees in a nation where more than two-thirds of the population do not have formal jobs. And you choose to care for kids.


All the profit from your GOEX purchases go directly to fund projects around the world.


A small group of customers chose GOEX for their better basics and custom apparel. Through that simple decision to purchase something they already needed for their event or business, they funded the life care costs for sixteen children in Ajulu, Uganda for three months. This includes food, water, clothing, shelter, education and 24-hour care, all provided by local partners of The Global Orphan Project.


a community standing for their kids


Ajulu, apart from existing as a transfer center of Arab slavery in the 17-18th century, wears the fresh scars of the Lord’s Resistance Army’s 20+ years of atrocities. During these times, Ajulu not only suffered, but also hosted dozens of displaced communities. Ajulu was one of the biggest Internal Displaced People camps (IDP’s) in Northern Uganda.


As a result, the Ajulu community faces a high level of illiteracy and school dropouts, children looking after children, a high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS (which has led to many children living alone to look after their siblings), domestic violence and divorce.


However, a local church in Ajulu is trying to restore hope in their community. They launched the local primary school, dug a well to provide safe water to the community, and took action to care for vulnerable and abandoned children in their community. Partnering with The Global Orphan Project, they renovated buildings and began to produce food through sustainable agriculture in order to provide stable, loving care for children in need.


Thank you for investing in the future of these kids and their community.


Our Year Two Update


Thank you for dreaming with us.


Two years ago, Joe Knittig — CEO of GOEX and The Global Orphan Project — stood on the floor of an empty production floor to announce a new initiative. Since that time, the GOEX customer community has helped that dream grow into an apparel enterprise employing 112 individuals (and counting) with living wage jobs that help keep families together.


Please take two minutes to watch this Year Two Update on GOEX — the brand that cares for kids!


Your Next Custom T-Shirt Order


Need tees for your church, business or event? With every GOEX t-shirt you purchase, all the profit goes directly to care for children in the care of our local church partners. Shop tees.


More about GOEX


GOEX is the brand that cares for kids. Fully owned by The Global Orphan Project, GOEX sews your custom t-shirts in an apparel production center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and screenprints your design in the urban core of Kansas City. With every GOEX product you purchase, one dollar—”a buck a tee”—goes directly to care for kids in the U.S. and around the world. The rest? Just GOEX’s costs to provide premium U.S.A. fabric and living wage jobs that help keep families together.


Curious about that first announcement Joe referenced in the video above? Watch below to hear Joe announce the opening of the new production facility, LIFE S.A.., back in March 2015.