As part of my Welsh Baccalaureate course I had to participate in a week’s worth of work experience. I (being cynical) presumed it would be the same as my year 10 placement. Boring, unnecessary and one could argue partly irrelevant. But surprisingly it wasn’t, little did I know it was going to be a week that determined the rest of my future.
Being of African heritage I chose to work in the Welsh Government in the international development section to help try and educate myself in sustainable development. Being put in a position that allows you to not only change people’s lives but to see how hard the Welsh Government work in trying to eradicate poverty (not only in over-seas nations, but also in Wales) has been one of the most empowering and inspirational weeks of my life, and not trying to create an X-Factor sob story moment but, it’s been a week that I’ll never forget.
I won’t lie being placed in a room and attending meetings and conferences with politicians and people who have ‘Dr’ as their title when yours is a mere ‘ms’ was slightly intimidating, but surprisingly inspiring. When sitting down and talking to these people you found out allot about the person behind the big fancy title. You noticed great similarities in their background to yours.
As previously stated during the week I attended numerous meetings and conferences etc, but two placements stick to mind. A conference call on inequalities in Wales, and a day in the Fair Trade Wales offices. The facts and figures are shocking, to know that even in this developing 21 century world, poverty is still ripe and present, not only in Africa and India but also in Wales. The latter I found the most shocking. Alongside the ‘Wales For Africa’ team and a day in the Fair trade offices, I found that poverty can be eradicated through education, empowerment and equality.
Fair trade isn’t just about aid and charity. It’s about sustainable development that allows families to grow, flourish and gives back the power of basic human rights. It’s about allowing parents to provide sufficient health and education for themselves and their children, thus empowering and benefiting their future.
I remember in school a teacher once told me that I could become anything I wanted to be. With the power of education I could ‘change the world.’ With the help of Fair Trade this empowering message can be emphasised globally. Every child has the right to be told ‘the world is their oyster’.