by Pam Kirkham, member of Fair Trade Conwy
Well how was your Fairtrade Fortnight? We were privileged to have Allan Saidi, a sugar producer from Malawi with us for one day (maybe you met him too?) and it was amazing.
We started the day with a ‘stock it’ challenge, visiting every establishment on Llandudno’s main street with pupils fromthe Ysgol John Bright, the local secondary school. (two of whom were dressed as bananas – well why not?!). They asked if Fairtrade products were on sale or available to staff and if the answer was no they were given a pack all about the benefits of Fairtrade, if the answer was yes they were given a certificate to display in their window. The pupils were extremely polite and conducted themselves well, and I’m sure they learnt a lot too.
We then returned to the school for Fairtrade coffee and biscuits and a presentation in the school library. Allan was invited to tell us about the benefits of being part of Fairtrade. He was absolutely bubbling with information. The first thing he showed us was a picture of his house before fair trade – a mud hut with grass roof, and a picture of his house now – made from bricks and corrugated iron roof, his smile was enormous. They had built a school with the Fairtrade premium enabling his daughter to go to school ‘locally’; they had purchased a truck for use by the community which was available for people to use – one of the main benefits of this truck was that it took pregnant women in labour to the hospital were previously they would have had to walk, with many giving birth on the way and sometimes with serious consequences. They had bought two tractors which again were available for the whole community to use on their farms. His job was to sit on the committee that decided what to use the premium payments on and to ensure that the money was used for the benefit of all.
And what would be his lasting impression of us – that he had met people who were thinking about them and buying their sugar and other fair trade products, people who cared.
I hope you managed to buy some fair trade products that you’ve not tried before and that you will continue to use ‘pester power’ at your local supermarkets – keep asking and they will get the message.