May 14 World Fair Trade Day
On or near this date, rallies, concerts, fashion shows and other events will be held around the world to encourage consumers to support fair trade with the Third World.
Outline script for assembly leaders
Emilse likes doing the tough jobs on the family sugar-cane farm in Costa Rica. She's now 65 but came to the farm aged 19, when she married. "There was no water, no road, no light." It's lucky she likes hard work because, apart from working in the fields loading the long sugar canes on a cart and in the processing plant, she has to do all the housework and, in the evening, does sewing to earn extra money.
Life became better when her husband and other local farmers began selling their sugar to the Fairtrade sugar market. "Before then, we had no security. Sometimes the European countries didn't buy our sugar because they'd persuaded farmers in another country to sell for even less."
With regular sales, the family could make improvements to their processing plant. "And we can now borrow money to build a bigger plant so we can process more."
Fairtrade is an international organisation working to get better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for producers. Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest workers, often demanding that they sell crops below their value.
On World Fair Trade Day, many shops will be promoting coffee, sugar, clothes, jewellery and handicrafts that have been traded at fair prices - prices which cover the costs of production and which are socially just and environmentally sound. If we buy goods with the Fairtrade symbol, we support the livelihoods of small farmers and craft workers in the poorer countries of the world.
* Free downloadable resource to help introduce and develop the concept of fair trade from key stage 2 to 16-plus in various curriculum areas www.fairtrade.org.ukresources_education_packs.htm
* Fair Trade in Action, a KS3 resource for citizenship, geography and religious studies, includes a video, case studies, a board game and teachers' guide (pound;15) Tel: 020 7440 7676).
* Last year, Leeds was declared Europe's largest Fairtrade city and produced a Fairtrade Schools Handbook: www.leedsfairtradecity.orgfairtradecity.htm