Economy

Fair-Trade Smartphones For The Geek With A Conscience

FairPhone in DR Congo
FairPhone in DR Congo
Varinia Bernau

BARCELONA - Bas van Abel brought a novel idea to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The 35-year-old Dutch entrepreneur is currently at work, with ten others, on the first "FairTrade" smartphone – a phone that will contain no gold mined in war zones, will not be assembled in a soulless Chinese factory, and will not deliver fat profits to a big greedy company.

Sound naïve? Van Abel, who initiated the project two years ago, knows that his FairPhone won’t save the world, but says its aim is to help bring about change – to show what is possible with the right effort and idea.

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Society

Face In The Mirror: Dutch Hairdressers Trained To Recognize Domestic Violence

Early detection and accessible help are essential in the fight against domestic violence. Hairdressers in the Dutch province of North Brabant are now being trained to identify when their customers are facing abuse at home.

Hair Salon Rob Peetoom in Rotterdam

Daphne van Paassen

TILBURG — The three hairdressers in the bare training room of the hairdressing company John Beerens Hair Studio are absolutely sure: they have never seen signs of domestic violence among their customers in this city in the Netherlands. "Or is that naïve?"

When, a moment later, statistics appear on the screen — one in 20 adults deals with domestic violence, as well as one or two children per class — they realize: this happens so often, they must have victims in their chairs.

All three have been in the business for years and have a loyal clientele. Sometimes they have customers crying in the chair because of a divorce. According to Irma Geraerts, 45, who has her own salon in Reusel, a village in the North Brabant region, they're part-time psychologists. "A therapist whose hair I cut explained to me that we have an advantage because we touch people. We are literally close. The fact that we stand behind people and make eye contact via the mirror also helps."

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