" A strange new system whereby the money you pay for an item actually goes to the people who produced it "

Stable incomes through fair trade guarantee happier and healthier lives for small producers and their famalies.

In our world people like "bargains". People like to buy goods cheaply. Many of the "Bargains" available these days are made in poorer countries. It is often amazing what you can buy for just a punt.

Have you ever wondered how it could be possible to produce such goods, so cheaply? In most cases the poorer producers do not consider such products a bargain. They often work in virtual slavery to produce them. In fact, through these "bargains" they subsidise our standard of living. In many cases they become dependent on charity.

In Ireland we are known to be good at giving to charity, but no matter how much we give we will not solve the problems of the world's poor until we pay them fairly for what they produce.

It is up to us to change the way we spend our money in order to bring about a change in the world. We can choose people-friendly products that we know are paid for justly There is a range of products available to buy including foods, tea, coffee, crafts, cloths, jewellery, baskets, instruments,etc., mainly from the so-called developing world. Most of them can be sourced through the Fair Trade shops, Oxfam and also some wholefood distributors. You can ask your local shop to stock them- they are available. Most of them will carry some form of identification that they are fairly traded. It is also good to be aware that fair trade does make a difference, and pennies turn into punts into longterm improvements in the lives of our brothers and sisters in other lands. It is worth consciously changing our spending habits.

So the next time you go to the shop be aware of what you are buying, can you buy a fairly traded item instead? Another bonus of fair trade is that it promotes the growth of indigenous communities. It helps them to keep their identity, preserve their homes, and work in harmony with their local environment to earn their living. Most importantly it improves the children's prospects of a brighter and better future.

Give someone a fish they'll live for a day.
Teach someone to fish and they'll live forever.

addresses to contact:
OXFAM, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7DZ
EQUAL EXCHANGE Trading Ltd., 29 Nicholson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX
and see Useful Contacts list


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