The following is from Andrea Wilkinson’s travel blog.
As is usually the case, what I expected to be the most daunting part of my trip has turned out to be the best bit. I must remember this next time something challenging comes my way!
Ok, so I’ve now trained 100 people from three different countries: Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
No matter how many times I say it, it still doesn’t feel quite real.
But the difference made by greater fair trade awareness is very real indeed. In fact, at times it is overwhelming.
Over and over again in the past week I have discovered firsthand the impact fair trade makes – not just on individual lives but entire communities.
With the extra money made from the Fairtrade Premium, communities have done some amazing stuff.
Making every decision as a group, they debate what is top priority for the workers. This ranges from creches to training facilities.
We could learn a lot from this community approach. Perhaps it is no mistake that ‘unity’ makes up the latter part of the word?
Robin, one of the guys that I trained this week told me:
“The difference Fairtrade makes to businesses, family and friends is second to none.
“What I like is that the community is empowered to make a decision that will help everyone. We now have a new creche for our children to play in and stay safe while we are working.
“As many of us have up to six children, this has made a massive difference to our lives.
“I am so happy that you are here today to tell more people about Fairtrade as i want everyone to benefit just like I have.”
So here I am yer again, reflecting on an amazing trip; something that will hopefully help lift thousands of farmers, handicraft makers and their families out of poverty.
This is why I have to cram in as much as I can before my journey home. Time is of the essence.
Before I get to the airport, several craft businesses want to find out more about Shared Interest, and there’s that NGO looking to create a long term project with us in the region… and there’s also one more producer to call…..
Oh and my packing of course
Next time you hear from me, I may be back on British soil. Just a 22 hour flight in between!
Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.
Click here to donate to the Shared Interest Foundation