Adopt a vegetable or clear a minefield

21st July 2006 at 01:00
Anyone for a pound;40 salad? Teachers who want to give or receive ethical gifts can choose from a range of karma-boosting options.

Prices start at around pound;12, for which one can adopt a vegetable, helping to promote agrarian diversity. For pound;40, enthusiastic vegetable-lovers can adopt an entire salad.

For pound;15, gift-givers can donate two pairs of shoes to African schoolchildren, or clear 10 square miles of minefield in a former war zone.

Donating a goat to a developing village begins at pound;20. But for pound;75, teachers can purchase a supergoat which breeds tougher, more milk-intensive offspring.

Prices for ethical gifts peak at pound;2,500, for which the recipient will own 100 acres of prime rainforest, thus saving it from destruction.

There are also gifts that have particular appeal to teachers. For pound;20, donors can buy three books - along with bookmarks and a draw-string bag - for reluctant teenage readers.

For pound;35, an African schoolchild will be provided with uniform, exercise books and school fees. A school-in-a-box kit, which provides education for children in disaster-ridden areas, can be bought for pound;165, and serious book-buyers can purchase an entire village library for pound;1,200.

Almost half of the 90 teachers surveyed by The TES said they had received an ethical gift in the past. Only 12.6 per cent had been given this gift by a pupil: most received it from a friend or a family member.

Half of teachers surveyed had bought an ethical gift for someone else. Most had given it to a friend or family member, but 8 per cent had bought one for a class of pupils.

Almost all teachers felt pupils should be encouraged to become involved in ethical giving as part of their citizenship education. But pupils' interest in international events is rarely circumscribed by high-profile aid campaigns. Instead, more than 60 per cent of teachers said this year's World Cup had had the biggest influence on pupils' interest in the world beyond British shores.

The December 2004 tsunami and the attacks of September 11 2001 followed closely behind. And more pupils had their interest in world events aroused by last year's Live8 concerts than by the suicide bombs on the London underground which followed shortly afterwards.

Andy Thornton, of the Citizenship Foundation, said: "Recent global events have certainly affected the way pupils view the world, and made them more aware of inequalities that exist out there.

"Teachers clearly recognise the value of giving and want to inspire pupils to make connections with global issues, and influence something they care about."

Leader 16

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