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Fairtrade Fortnight a Sweet Success

Principal Mrs Barlow is pictured signing a petition to promote fair trade. Also pictured are religious studies teachers Mrs Herring and Mrs Coyle, who organised many of the activities.

Fairtrade Fortnight took place from 25 February to 10 March. Here at Notre Dame, our students and staff organised a wide range of activities to raise awareness of this year’s campaign. This focused on the people (especially the women) who grow cocoa for the chocolate we eat.

The Fairtrade website states: ‘£1.86 is the amount a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs to earn each day in order to achieve a living income. Currently, a typical cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire lives on around 74p a day. Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa live in poverty. For the women the situation is even worse. They may plant and harvest on the farm, look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, and transport the cocoa beans to market but often with fewer rights than men. This is why we at Fairtrade are campaigning for a living income to become a reality for cocoa farmers in West Africa. If we can work together with governments, chocolate companies and retailers to make the commitments and policies necessary, then we can make it happen.’

A team of Notre Dame students encouraged their peers and teachers to sign a petition. This asked our Prime Minister to act. Staff and students created a Fairtrade collage. They displayed it in the lower common room to demonstrate how many Fairtrade products are already available to buy. As usual, the college shop sold Fairtrade chocolate. To round off the week, on Friday 1 March teachers organised a pop up café in the staff room. As this date coincided with St David’s Day, one member of staff cooked a small mountain of Welsh cakes, using as many fair trade ingredients as possible. Taylors of Harrogate kindly provided Fairtrade tea and coffee to accompany the Welsh cakes. We’d like to thank them for their generosity. Staff were encouraged to make donations in exchange for their goodies. We collected £70 for Alzheimer’s Society, a charity that raises awareness of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and supports and cares for those with these conditions.

Head of Religious Studies Mrs Catherine Herring, who was heavily involved in arranging all the activities, said, ‘Fair trade fortnight is a key part of our ethos, living the virtue of solidarity with each other and especially those whose hard work provides us with the ingredients that we all rely on.’

To find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight, please visit the Fairtrade website: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/get-involved/current-campaigns/Fairtrade-Fortnight

The Fairtrade collage created by our students.