Charity or Fairtrade ?
We say that the world is changing. That technology is advancing. That we are discovering more and more each day. But is everyone getting an equal opportunity to change the way they live their lives? The world we live in is often split into two different worlds: the developed world and developing world. We call the latter this because it has not yet advanced to the high standards that we, in the developed world, have managed to attain; we believe this section of the world to be 'developing' and changing.
Yet whenever we refer to change it appears that it is our world that is changing and developing, we are the ones thinking up new technology. It is the developed world that seems to be developing more and more, when the third-world remains bound by poverty and inequality. Are people in developing countries really getting the chance they deserve to change and improve their way of life? It's not that we don't care about other parts of the world; when tragedy hits, such as the tsunamis, earthquakes or war, or when celebrities like Bob Geldof hold huge campaigns to raise awareness of famine and drought in Africa, we respond with massive enthusiasm through financial and monetary gifts of charity or other emergency aid.
But what happens when the tsunamis or earthquakes have passed, the Make-Poverty-History marches have ended and the Live8 concerts have finished. Do the media forget the atrocities that continue to take place in the developing world? We forget that these people, in massive numbers, still suffer from famine, homelessness, inadequate healthcare, unsafe drinking water, torture, rape, murder, war, unfair pay, appalling working conditions, unjust trade laws and all round poverty. What happens when the monetary charity and emergency aid we have given runs out? People in the developing world are back to square one.
We may occasionally pop a few pennies in charity box to help them temporarily or to make ourselves feel good or just lighten our bulging purses, but this does not help to raise others out of poverty forever. Charity, as good a cause as it is, is not enough. It is only a temporary solution. A better solution is needed. A more permanent answer needs put in place. One has already been invented - Fairtrade.
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade has been working hard to change the lives of millions of small-scale producers in poorer parts of the world for over twenty years. Fairtrade aims for better prices, improved working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for both farmers and workers in the developing world.
By compelling companies to pay the farmers and the workers at fair market prices it helps address the inequalities of conventional trade, which tends to discriminate against the poorest and most vulnerable producers. Once people in the developing world are offered the opportunity to trade fairly, their individual incomes and connections with the developed world will greatly improve and they will then be able to really begin to close the equality gap.
Although, the organisers of the Fairtrade movement accept that it is difficult to change established habits by introducing Fairtrade products into the regular shopping of the majority of individuals, their aim is to re -educate those of us who live in the developed world and by so doing, encourage us to change our shopping habits.
Twenty years of campaigning, raising awareness and getting celebrities and big name shops on board is proving successful. After twenty years, over 50% of the Fairtrade organisation is owned by the farmers and producers. But this is not the end. This does not mean their lives are miraculously changed and improved – our support is still needed.
On top of the fair sustainable price, farmers and workers receive the Fairtrade Premium. They decide between themselves how best to spend this extra amount for the benefit of the wider community. It can be used for projects such as clean water, education and healthcare facilities. 'The organizers of the Fairtrade movement accept that is it a challenge to changes established habits by introducing Fairtrade products into the regular shopping of the majority of individual. Their aim is to tell those of us who live in the developed world about the difficulties faced by those who farm in the developing world and by doing so...'
Which only leaves one question -
how can we expect others to be able to change if we ourselves do not first change our way of living?
What can you do?
Fairtrade isn't just about the food. You can swap certain products for Fairtrade ones .....
You can buy Fairtrade products at the following Shops
Types of products you can swap
|Fairtrade Foundation||One World Shop||Recipes||Traidcraft|