Students at Central Sussex College’s Crawley campus took time out from traditional lessons on Wednesday 27th February to spend the day exploring issues related to global poverty and the Fairtrade movement.
As part of Fairtrade Fortnight (25th February – 10th March), the annual celebration of the Fairtrade movement, The Co-operative’s South East Membership Team organised a packed day of activities at the College.
Debbie Mitchell, The Co-operative’s Global Poverty Ambassador, and Stephanie Talbot, key note speaker, delivered the thought-provoking presentation, “1.4 Billion Reasons”, to students; giving them the opportunity to discover what extreme poverty actually is and consider, during a series of workshops, what they can do to help.
The young people were then transported to the cocoa fields of the Ivory Coast as they watched “The Dark Side of Chocolate”, a documentary that draws attention to the use of child labour in the production of chocolate.
Students were kept fed and watered as they worked thanks to a supply of Fairtrade goodies, including bananas, chocolate brownies, nuts and fresh juices, from local Co-operative Food stores.
Emilie Fellingham, The Co-operative’s Membership Officer for Sussex said: “The Co-operative’s seven million members have told us that they want a business committed to tackling global poverty. It’s therefore vital that we continue to educate youngsters about the Fairtrade movement. Whether a vanilla grower in India, a sugar producer in Paraguay, or a coffee producer in Guatemala, Fairtrade enables people living in some of the world’s poorest countries to escape poverty and empower themselves and their families.”
Rosie Clements, Pastoral Team Leader at Central Sussex College in Crawley said: “This was an incredibly powerful and moving day for our learners. Hearing on the news that there are 1.4 billion people in the world living in extreme poverty sometimes doesn’t quite register; it’s almost too big a number to even consider. However, thanks to The Co-operative, our students have been able to break that number down and discuss what that actually means for young people, just like them, living in less fortunate countries.”
“Everyone left the sessions feeling very inspired and I am sure they will be encouraging their friends and families to find out more and make the switch to Fairtrade products so we can support this fantastic movement.”
Interested in finding out more about Fairtrade? On Friday 8th March, members of the local community are invited to attend a film-screening event at The Hub, at the College’s Sixth Form Haywards Heath, 5.30-8.30pm. Guests, can register for free tickets at: www.co-operativememberevents.coop and will be able to browse Fairtrade stalls, sample Fairtrade produce, and enjoy a screening of the critically acclaimed film ‘Black Gold’ which follows a producer from an Ethiopian Coffee co-operative on an epic journey around the world as he attempts to get a fair price for his high quality coffee.