Monday, December 15, 2008

Fairtrade Apprentices Set Out Their Stalls

Back in November I went to All Saints school in Ingleby Barwick for the start of their "Dragons Den meets the Fairtrade Apprentice" Day. Tonight was the finale - the successful groups set out their stalls and tried to make a profit by selling Fairtrade goods to parents and visitors. I was invited back to speak about the importance of Fairtrade.
A group of young students sang a song they'd written about making a difference by buying Fairtrade. Another group showed their skills with African drums and dance, which they'd practised on the day with the help of Melting Pot Arts. Yet more students performed extracts from dramas they'd produced during the day, stressing what a difference Fairtrade makes. At one point I was reminded of the opening line of "Little Women", a favourite book of mine as a child: "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents". At the end of their drama the workers got the best Christmas present possible - Fairtrade prices for their goods and fair working conditions.
I was impressed by the entrepreneurial skills of some of the teams. Buying Fairtrade ingredients and making Christmas gingerbread men to sell seemed to me to show a grasp of the value that can be added to goods. One or two teams had supplemented their offer by organic or ethically sourced goods where Fairtrade isn't yet available but they had clearly stated that on the stall. By the time I was leaving some stalls were selling out, the raffle had been won by a suitably supportive local resident, staff looked worn out and the students were still on a high. Well done All Saints, and I hope to be invited back when the school declares that it has achieved the goal of Fairtrade status.

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