Pupils of St Brendan’s Primary School in Motherwell have been telling their families and the wider community why they should buy Fairtrade products. The children’s work promoting Fairtrade products, which ensure a fair deal for producers in developing countries, has promoted responsible and active citizenship in the wider community.
TES Scotland reports that the project has encouraged the pupils to think about the products they buy, to become responsible, informed consumers and to consider the consequences of their actions – even something as simple as buying a box of teabags. Teacher Maureen O’Hara hopes that learning about Fairtrade will help the children to develop a social conscience and raise their awareness of fair wages, fair working conditions, poverty, equality and social justice.
The school celebrates Fairtrade fortnight every year in February/March, involving children from other schools and inviting everybody in the community to its coffee mornings. Some pupils wanted to find out what the local supermarket would be doing for Fairtrade fortnight and what Fairtrade goods it stocked. The children have also influenced buying criteria in the local authority. They wrote to the person in charge of catering and purchasing at North Lanarkshire, asking them to buy Fairtrade bananas wherever possible for their healthy snack. “That’s a fair number of bananas,” says Mr O’Hara.
A Fairtrade committee meets once a term to plan future events. The school has also published a book of poems by the children about Fairtrade, several of which the Fairtrade Foundation plans to publish on its new website. During the last Fairtrade fortnight, a group of children visited the Fairtrade Experience, an exhibition at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow. “It was very enlightening,” she says. “They discovered there were a number of adults who weren’t aware of Fairtrade. I was really proud watching and listening to them explaining to adults about Fairtrade.”
28 September 2007