Last week, Isabella and I were lucky enough to be invited in to give an assembly on Fairtrade to the pupils at Springhill RC primary school in Southampton. Springhill, as you may know, played an important part in the festivities back in 2004 when Southampton achieved Fairtrade city status. Pupils greeted the Fairtrade bananas which arrived by sailing boat at the Town Pier! So we were really excited to visit the school and talk to the students again!
Isabella, our fantastic new school volunteer, started her assembly by reminding pupils that one of the important things that CAFOD does is work towards a fairer and more just world, and that one of the ways we could all help to achieve this is by supporting Fairtrade.
Isabella then talked about the number of people involved with the production of bananas – and explained what each person did at each stage. She looked at the banana growers, the plantation owner, shipper, importer and the supermarket manager. Each person had a special mime to go along with their role and the children joined in with (for example) miming the cutting and washing bananas (as banana growers) to the stocking of bananas on supermarket shelves and passing them through the checkout (as supermarket staff).
Pupils were astonished by how little the banana grower earned after all that hard work in comparison to others in the production chain– and by how much more they earn if the banana is Fairtrade.
We then looked at the advantages of buying Fairtrade including the fact that farmers receive a fair price for their products, and that they are also given money to spend in their community. Isabella also told us that Fairtrade farmers also care for the environment and make sure that all their workers are treated fairly. This includes reducing the use of pesticides that are used, as well as adopting good labour practices.
Lastly, Isabella showed everyone the Fairtrade label and the other kinds of products available in the shops including a number of gifts from the special Fairtrade shop in Shirley. She had lots of unusual things including some jewellery, toys (including a duck call!) and other great Christmas gifts too!
The assembly ended with Isabella talking through the steps the school could take in order to become a Fairtrade school – with the full support of Headteacher Mrs Lynch.
Thank you so much everyone for all your support for CAFOD and your fantastic enthusiasm on the day! Everyone really made us feel really welcome. What a great school!
For more information on CAFOD’s Fairtrade education resources go to http://www.cafod.org.uk/primary/fairtrade