Head Teacher’s Blog

Fairtrade Week this week. What does this mean for our children? I had to ask myself that question when I was trying to put together an assembly. I watched a few of the Fairtrade Foundation videos and saw the good work they, and other organisations, do in establishing mutually beneficial trading links with farmers and producers which enrich and sustain local communities. Without this fair trade agreement, producers of commodities like cocoa, coffee, tea, cotton and bananas would receive minimum price for their products, the bulk of the profit going to others- buyers, processors, supermarkets etc.
Some of our children already have a fair knowledge of Fairtrade- I have been told this week to buy my bananas from the Co-op and that all Cadbury chocolate is Fairtrade sourced.
What we hope to do this week is explore overseas links and try to give the children a small insight into the lives of children born in different circumstances. Children who may have to work from an early age to help support their family, carry water for all their needs from a pump, attend school on a part-time basis and walk miles to get there, and grow up and take on adult roles much faster than we would like our children to do so.
Of course, once we know about these things, the important bit is what we do about it. The message which comes from Fairtrade organisations is relatively simple- buy Fairtrade goods, and if you don’t see them, ask in the store for them- be a nuisance shopper! In the delightful way that children have of simplifying a problem, one child said last week that he would only buy Fairtrade products. I started to launch into the response about that being easier said than done when I realised that he was absolutely right- if we keep nagging and make choices about what we buy, the supermarkets will quickly catch on. From the offers and vouchers that Tesco send to me, it is obvious that they know exactly what I am buying- if a large percentage of that is Fairtrade, they will get the message.
This has turned into a little rant for which I apologise- it is obvious from the remarks and opinions expressed by the children that many of you are already converts to the cause. As so often happens, you only realise what you think or believe by putting it into words. It is heartening that our children- the shoppers and decision-makers of the future- have such healthy attitudes to justice and fairness for all. If by giving them a little insight into lives not so lucky or privileged as their own, we can ensure that those sentiments stay with them, then I will eat all the Fairtrade bananas I can. I may even force down a little chocolate!
Well done to Humbie children on their excellent Fairtrade café on Friday and good luck to Saltoun children on Wednesday for their soup lunch.
Thanks to Carmel Daly for leading by example and only bringing in Fairtrade tea and coffee.
Have a good banana-rich week.
Lindy Lynn.