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A Childhood Dream of Africa from Sally Reith: Fairtrade Fortnight Blog

We asked “How do you Go Further for Fairtrade and Change the World?” This is Sally Reith’s answer: A Childhood Dream of Africa

 

At a young age I dreamt of changing the world.  That dream has not faded but the ways in which I see myself doing that have changed.  As a young girl I had dreams of living somewhere in Africa and building homes for local communities.

 

My interest in Africa has not changed, and I travelled to Tanzania a number of years ago to volunteer with a local community to build a medical centre.  I had a fantastic time in Tanzania and met many inspiring people along the way but something about this experience didn’t seem right for me.  I was learning a skill: making bricks,  which unfortunately I wouldn’t have much opportunity to use back home, Meanwhile,  the same skills picked up by local people would be put to good use helping them earn a living.  This thought stayed with me and on my return to the UK I thought more about fairness and the inequality I saw on my travels.

 

I had never learnt about fair trade at school but I started to hear about this concept when I returned to university a year after my trip to Tanzania.  If I wanted to buy a product, for example a bar of chocolate, surely there was a way I could buy it without any consumer guilt (guilt free chocolate, was it possible?).  Fairtrade seemed to be the opportunity I was looking for to balance my craving for a sugar hit and a cocoa producers’ efforts to earn fairer income.

 

Having completed my studies, I began searching for jobs.  Still, I didn’t find a use for my brick making learnt in Tanzania but this new skill and experience did help me discover the world of fair trade.  That’s where I came across Shared Interest, a co-operative that supports fair trade organisations.  I read about the organisations Shared Interest finances using their UK members’ investments.   The idea that these fair trade organisations were able to improve their livelihoods with the help of someone like me seemed incredible.  It involved me going further than buying a fair trade product from the shelf and, instead helping it get onto the shelf in the first place

 

 

Whether  producing cocoa for my much loved bar of chocolate, like Naranjillo in Peru, or another of my households’ favourites, vanilla like Gourmet Gardens in Uganda, I feel these producers should be able to  earn a fair income for their hard work.

 

It is great to think that I can support these, -and many other -fair trade communities by not only buying their products but also helping support their need for fair finance.

 

Now I consider that a great way to change the world.  To find out how you can go further for fair trade and invest with Shared Interest visit www.shared-interest.com.

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