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What’s the BIG Deal about Fair Trade?!?

Posted by on December 17, 2014

There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

It's HARD to believe that this ENTIRE post began because of an opportunity to buy Rafiki Chains through our Student Council!

It’s HARD to believe that this ENTIRE post began because of an opportunity to buy Rafiki Chains through our Student Council!

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men.

~ Albert Einstein

Our Student Council group is selling Rafiki Chains. This is a part of the Me to We Foundation that has been working hard, for MANY years, to bring about positive change in the world. We were VERY excited to discover that we had an opportunity to help with the amazing work that Craig and Marc Keilburger have been doing for years now. And, the COOL part? They started out wanting to make a difference when THEY were kids too!

At first, we were a LITTLE disappointed to discover that these chains would cost us $10.00 EACH. They seemed like such SIMPLE chains to make … just a string of beads in a single strand. THAT’S when we started to delve DEEPER. We discovered that Rafiki means FRIEND in SWAHILI … and … even BETTER? EVERY chain that is PURCHASED helps to “break the chain of poverty” in the communities these chains are MADE in. MOST of the money goes right BACK to the community to help them with “school supplies, access to clean water, healthy meals, financial tools, and health care!”

Wow! It made us all feel SO good to know that buying our own Rafiki Chains would help to make the world a BETTER place!

Wow! It made us all feel SO good to know that buying our own Rafiki Chains would help to make the world a BETTER place!

THAT’S when FAIR TRADE popped into the conversation. We talked about being paid FAIRLY for the work that we ALL do. We began to wonder what in the world FAIR trade was … and why EVERYONE wasn’t getting paid fairly for the work that they do. We were EVEN shocked to discover, as we got FURTHER into our wonders, that something as HORRIBLE as CHILD labour exists in the world.

We found some great sites during our search to help us with our questions and an AMAZING post that was easy for us to understand, since we’re only seven and eight years old. It’s called F is for Fair Trade.

We were SHOCKED to discover that MILLIONS of children around the world have to work and don't even get to go to school. ALL this just because of a LITTLE Rafiki Chain.

We were SHOCKED to discover that MILLIONS of children around the world have to work and don’t even get to go to school. ALL THESE discoveries, and MORE, just because of a LITTLE Rafiki Chain!

What follows are some of our reflections:

“Fair Trade gives farmers or whoever a fair price for the food, tea and other stuff they grow or make like fruits, peanuts, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, clothes and more. Fair Trade allows “sellers” to get enough money for food, medicine, clean water and shelter. It also helps stop child labour.” ~Mani

“Fair Trade is making sure that people in developing countries get a decent amount of money for the things they have worked very hard on. Fair trade is important because it can help to stop child labour. If you spend ten dollars you can buy a Rafiki necklace which means “friend chain”.  It helps Mothers in developing countries afford education for their kids and clean water and safe food to eat. I think that people in developing countries should deserve to get a decent amount of cash. They deserve to live with clean water but unfortunately they cannot because not everything is Fair Trade. 🙁 Some people in developing countries LIVE on Fair Trade. I think fair trade is a great idea.” ~Marcus

“Fair Trade is an important thing. Fair Trade is important because if somebody worked for three days making a whole purse you would not give them 25 cents. You would probably give them 25 dollars. Some kids that are poor get forced to work at the age of seven years old instead of going to school. People are paying lots for Rafiki chains. Five dollars goes to the Me to We foundation and five goes to the people who make them. People should get a fair amount of money for how much work they put into whatever they’re making. If I put lots of work into something and only got like 50 cents for it that wouldn’t be a fair trade.” ~Carter

We know that artisans around the world work HARD to make a living. This beautiful doll was sent to Mrs. Renton from Ashli. Ashli is the co-founder of Mosqoy. Mosqoy is a non-government organization we have helped to build a library with in Q'enqo Peru. Mosqoy works hard at FAIR TRADE.

We know that artisans around the world work HARD to make a living. This beautiful doll was sent to Mrs. Renton from Ashli. Ashli is the co-founder of Mosqoy. Mosqoy is a non-government, not for profit organization we have helped to build a library with in Q’enqo Peru. Mosqoy works hard at FAIR TRADE.

“I think that Child Labour is just CRUEL! They work for no more than maybe ten or eleven dollars a week. I wonder what kind of parents would send their kids away for probably only like $175? Fair Trade is NOT something where farmers can make crops like honey, peanuts, coffee beans … anything you can farm … and they get only like 25 cents. That’s not fair to the farmers. So, Fair Trade makes sure the farmers get enough money to put food on their table. Children in Africa, Asia and a TON of other countries have ten year old kids working for free. That, my dear readers, is a GREAT example of CHILD LABOUR!” ~Oliver

“Did you know that MILLIONS of kids have to work in places like factories and other places? Did you know that there are five different kids of Rafiki chains? They are for food, health, water, education and income. I also wonder how long it takes to make a Rafiki chain. I would feel sad if I made something and it took me one or two months and I got five or ten dollars. I hope more people start doing Fair Trade.” ~Robert

“Did you know that some people put all their hard work into making a doll or food and all they get is a little amount of money? I really wonder why they spend so much time on things and get a little amount of money. Some children have to work but they get a little amount of money and the rest of the money goes to the parents or other people who don’t even do the work. I feel really sad that some parents do that to children. I wonder why some people don’t do Fair Trade. It is really rude.” ~Olivia

Ashli ALSO sent these BEAUTIFUL hand-woven Peruvian bags .... purchased through FAIR trade. We LOVE the work that Mosqoy is doing in Peru!

Ashli ALSO sent these BEAUTIFUL hand-woven Peruvian bags …. purchased through FAIR trade. We LOVE the work that Mosqoy is doing in Peru!

“Did you know that MILLIONS of children work full days? Fair Trade is getting a fair price for what you made or grew. Amazingly, 9924 TONNES of Fair Trade hot chocolate was drunk in the UK in 2011. 75% of Fair Trade producers are farmers. Surprisingly there are more than 4500 Fair Trade products with the FairTrade mark. I would feel like a slave if I had to work full days. I wonder if parents get slaved like children. I wish that more people would pay a fair amount of money for what they get.” ~Riley

“I, William, really think tourists that go to developing countries really should give more money to the people who make things. I do really wonder how long it’s going to take for almost all of Africa to develop. I know it is going to take a long time but I still wonder. Another wonder I have is why do people say “I will pay $4.00″ when something is $12.00. I just don’t think it’s fair. It’s really NOT fair. I learned through Fair Trade websites that Fair Trade is NOT charity, which I thought it was. But, I get it a LOT more now. When I learned about Rafiki necklaces/bracelets I was surprised they were $10.00. I was ripped off about that but when I learned more about it it was a GOOD deal. I just can’t wait until my Rafiki necklace gets here.” ~William

“Did you know that half of our Rafiki chain money goes to the Mamas that made them? Fair Trade is if you make or grow something that took you a day to make or grow you should not sell it for a dollar. It should be sold for at LEAST 17 or 25 dollars. Fair Trade products are selling in more than 120 countries now. I wonder how many countries are developing countries and how many are rich countries. Bad child labour is having to work ALL day! I wish that more people would get the amount of money they need!” ~Colby

In Calgary, there are MANY places to purchase hand-made goods through FAIR TRADE. These huiros were purchased at Ten Thousand Villages. It makes us feel GOOD to know the person who made these was paid FAIRLY.

In Calgary, there are MANY places to purchase hand-made goods through FAIR TRADE. These Peruvian huiros were purchased at Ten Thousand Villages. It makes us feel GOOD to know the person who made these was paid FAIRLY.

“OK … so … Fair Trade all started when we were talking and learning about Rafiki Chains. Rafiki means friend. We have quite a few … uhh … facts and wonders! Fair Trade helps to make sure that working conditions are REALLY safe. Fair Trade can SURELY help to protect children and STOP child labour. Fair Trade helps developing countries. Fair Trade ISN’T charity. MILLIONS of farmers in Africa and Asia do NOT get Fair Trade for ALL the food they grow. I wish all the developing countries and also the wealthy countries would get Fair Trade. A LOT of people in developing countries can’t make a decent living because they have to sell their goods at such low prices.” ~Faith

“Why is Fair Trade important? Because millions of people across Africa, Asia and Latin America are getting a better deal and a better living because of fair trade. My wonder is if no one did Fair Trade would they stop making stuff? The people that make Rafikis … are they just girls? If it was a boy doing it, would the Rafikis be the same? In many different poor countries kids have to do grown up work. That’s child labour.” ~Shaye

“There are millions of farmers who don’t get Fair Trade for their crops in Africa and Asia. Fair Trade is not about charity. It’s about giving the right amount of money to the person. So, if I grow tomatoes and it took me three days and someone said I will give you one dollar for it … that’s not a fair trade. I wonder if I made a rainbow loom bracelet and it took me five hours how much money that would be?” ~Adam

“If kids work like six hours and they only make 30 cents that’s not even close to a fair trade. Fair Trade helps with living.” ~Liam

This drum, from India, was ALSO purchased through Fair Trade at Ten Thousand Villages.

This drum, from India, was ALSO purchased through Fair Trade at Ten Thousand Villages.

“What is a Rafiki? Rafiki is a Swahili word for “friends”. Can I be Rafiki? Certainly you can. You can buy a Rafiki friend chain AND you can buy as many Fair Trade items as you can!!!” ~Anita

“I feel so sorry for all those kids and adults that work so hard and don’t get a fair price. Think about it. All their hard work for such a little price. That’s not fair. Fair Trade is important because is helps people make a living. I wonder why someone would do such a thing … not giving someone a fair amount of money? Why? Why? WHY? I suggest that everyone should pay exactly, I repeat … EXACTLY the price the person who made the item needs. That is fair.” ~Marah

“Fair Trade is important because some people don’t get a fair price for the stuff they worked really hard on and also because they need money for their family. In school people are selling Rafikis and they don’t keep the money. They give it to the Mamas because they are the ones who made the Rafikis. If you do not know what child labour is … well … it is when children do a job at a young age. Some of them are lucky and they still get an education. One of my wonders is how did they come up with the Fair Trade symbol?” ~Aleah

“Children all over the world work hard for a living. A Rafiki chain is about helping women in Africa and a Rafiki is $10.00. I wonder how many kids do this child labour. I think Fair Trade is important.” ~Prayers

“I wonder if rich people can do anything? Some children are poor and they don’t have houses or food for themselves or their family. Some are forced to do work and some have no families. Some countries are really poor.” ~Roxanne

There are SO many wonderful links and books ... we've only just BEGUN to delve into the issue of Fair Trade and human rights. Keep checking back! There's MORE to COME!

There are SO many wonderful links and books … we’ve only just BEGUN to delve into the issue of Fair Trade and human rights. Keep checking back! There’s MORE to COME!

“I wonder if Fair Trade is like fair trade money. The Rafiki Chain: half of the money when you buy a Rafiki goes to the people who made them and the other half goes to the Me to We Foundation to help in other ways. Fair Trade is important because if you didn’t get Fair Trade you wouldn’t have enough money to feed your family and you will starve.” ~Haya

“Fair Trade is giving a fair amount of money. If someone takes five hours to make a doll or a drum or something then give them a fair price.” ~Alvin

“Fair Trade can be for coffee, rice, sugar, flowers, honey, vanilla and fresh fruit. Fair trade is something that when a person spent hours making something they will get a good deal when they sell it. In some countries there is not Fair Trade. So people will not have that much money.” ~Thomas

This GORGEOUS "kantha" blanket was purchased by a Blogging Hawk family, online, through Dignify.

This GORGEOUS “kantha” blanket was purchased by a Blogging Hawk family, online, through Dignify.

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Fair Trade chocolate can ALSO be purchased online. We wonder if you can buy it in stores in Calgary?

This Fair Trade chocolate can ALSO be purchased online. We wonder if you can buy it in stores in Calgary?

The CHALLENGE is ON! We VOW to keep our EYES peeled for Fair Trade items being sold around us. We MIGHT even take PHOTOS of these items and add them to this post over time! We MAY be SMALL … but … TOGETHER? We can ALL make a difference!

LOOK! Since writing this post ANOTHER Blogging Hawk found some FAIR Trade chocolate in town! I guess we JUST have to keep our EYES peeled!

LOOK! Since writing this post ANOTHER Blogging Hawk found some FAIR Trade chocolate in town! They FOUND it at Shoppers Drug Mart.  I guess we JUST have to keep our EYES peeled!

We wonder:

  • Do you try to buy “Fair Trade”? We’d LOVE to hear about it.
  • Besides going to places like Ten Thousand Villages to buy Fair Trade goods, where ELSE can you find them in Calgary? *Since first writing this, we discovered a link to where you can purchase Fair Trade items in Calgary!
  • Is there Child Labour in Canada?
  • Is all our stuff made in factories in Canada? (Oh oh! Now we’re looking at our CLOTHING labels!)

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Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.

~ Sally Koch

6 Responses to What’s the BIG Deal about Fair Trade?!?

  1. Stacie

    It is so important to learn about the world around us and think about ways we can make positive changes that help others. I feel very lucky to be paid fair wages for my job! Someone gave me a Rafiki necklace as a gift once and I love it! Fair trade shopping would be great for gift giving ideas. You can give someone a nice gift and help others at the same time! Here is my quote for your class:
    “We can change the world one random act of kindness at a time.”
    I did not know there was a Fair Trade symbol, so you have taught me something new as well!
    Stacie

    • The Blogging Hawks

      Hi Stacie!

      Thank you for the lovely comment! Most of us also think that it is important to learn about the world around us. We think that it’s important to learn about people around the world because we can learn about different cultures. We also get to learn that just because something is different … that doesn’t make it wrong. For example, some people in Peru eat guinea pigs. It makes us feel weird, at first, because we think of guinea pigs as pets. But … they DON’T think of them as pets. They think of them as food. So we are learning to see that not all cultures are the same … and … that’s OKAY!

      We wish EVERYBODY in the world be paid fairly so that they could have enough food and be able to meet their needs. It’s sad that not everyone is paid fairly. 🙁

      We liked knowing that half of the money from the Rafiki Chains went back to the village for clean water, education, health, income and food. Some of us wonder which Rafiki YOU got!

      One year a student gave Mrs. Renton a GOAT for Christmas! Don’t worry … it didn’t make a mess in the classroom because the goat didn’t really come to live with HER! It was donated to a village in need. World Vision does that!

      We’re glad that you have learned from our blog that there are fair trade symbols! We have discovered that there is more than ONE fair trade symbol. Some of us have been keeping our eyes peeled to see where we spot them. Many of us have brought in Fair Trade Chocolate we’ve been lucky enough to find at Super Store and Shoppers Drug Mart!

      The Blogging Hawks 🙂

  2. Tannis Emann

    Hi Blogging Hawks!
    Thank you so much for writing this thought provoking post to raise awareness about Fair Trade. I can tell by your thoughtful reflections how much you have pondered, wondered, researched and discussed this complex topic. I am extremely impressed! Your post really has me thinking. I am thinking about how I make decisions in the grocery store. When I see products that are clearly marked fair trade I try to make the decision to purchase it over the same product that is not labelled fair trade. I think more products on the shelves of Coop and Safeway should be fair trade and I think they should have special markers or flags on the shelves to draw out attention to the Fair Trade products. I know Coop does this with Alberta Made products so perhaps it could be extended to also show Fair Trade. I am also thinking about how at this time of year when I am looking for gifts for my friends and family I can make choices to shop for Fair Trade items. I love shopping for gifts at Ten Thousand Villages because I know the items are make by the hands and hearts of people around the world and they were paid fairly for their skills, efforts and time. When I give gifts like this it makes me feel good inside. I don’t know other places like Ten Thousand Villages so I look forward to seeing if other readers of your blog have suggestions. Maybe online shopping options? I am going to keep my eyes open now too for Fair Trade items in the stores I visit. Thank you for drawing attention to Fair Trade and for your passion in sharing your learning with the world. You make a difference, you matter. 🙂

    • The Blogging Hawks

      Hi Tannis!

      Thank you for your amazing, DETAILED comment! Mrs. Renton told us about how YOU were the one that she STARTED this blog with! It makes us feel good to know that you are still checking our adventures out!

      We’ve learned a TON about Fair Trade over the past few weeks! Most of us never looked around for fair trade stuff before learning about it but now many of us really keep our eyes peeled! Some of us have actually brought in Fair Trade CHOCOLATE that we’ve bought at stores like Safeway, Super Store, Sunterra, Shoppers Drug Mart and in the malls!

      We agree with you! There should be a BIG symbol that marks where fair trade items are … or a whole SECTION in these grocery stores that have all the fair trade items they sell in one spot! It would be SO much easier to shop fair trade then!

      Some of us bought extra Rafiki chains to give as Christmas presents! One year Mrs. Renton even got a GOAT as a Christmas present! Don’t worry … it’s not running around the classroom right now! The student “bought” a goat, under Mrs. Renton’s name, and it was given to a family in need in a developing country. It was a VERY special gift for both Mrs. Renton AND that family who received the goat!

      What is the COOLEST Fair Trade gift you have EVER received?

      The Blogging Hawks 🙂

  3. Stacie

    Hey Blogging Hawks!
    I ‘heard’ you were learning about sound and hearing! Check out this really cool fact:

    Animals Have Remarkable Hearing Sense

    In World War One (WWI) parrots were set aside on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France for the reason of their extraordinary sense of hearing. When the Parrots heard a rival air craft coming they would inform everybody of the hazard long prior to any human ear would hear it. This is probably one of the most interesting fact about ears!

    Looking forward to ‘hearing’ more from you all about sound and hearing!

    Stacie

    • The Blogging Hawks

      Hi Stacie!

      Thank you for the cool facts about Hearing and Sound. We love that you are researching about Hearing and Sound like we are! We thought that was an AMAZING fact about parrots! None of us had ever heard THAT fact before!

      Here’s a fact for YOU! Did you know that snakes hear with their JAW bones?

      The Blogging Hawks 🙂

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