This year to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight we are giving our local Primary Schools a Fairtrade football from Bala Sports UK!
We hope to get lots of photographs of young people across the Holme Valley getting engaged and active with Fairtrade – not just with footballs but with other things too. What will your school be doing?
To discover more about the Fairtrade footballs from Bala Sport please visit their website: http://www.balasport.co.uk/
To discover more about Fairtrade Fortnight and how your school can get involved please visit: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Get-Involved/Current-campaigns/Fairtrade-Fortnight
To learn more about Fairtrade and footballs take a look at workshops from Holmfirth based fairandfunky: http://www.fairandfunky.com/school-and-community-workshops/play-fair-fairtrade-footballs/
I was delighted to join the Holme Valley Fairtrade at November's meeting in Honley a couple of weeks ago. It was excellent opportunity to catch up with old friends and support a movement very close to our hearts.
Allegro Optical Opticians is a business with a strong focus on ethical client care and wellbeing. We always try to provide the very best service and products we can, but without detriment to others. In doing just that staff at the practices in Meltham and Leeds are particularly conscious of their environmental and ethical responsibilities. All our staff contribute to the businesses environmental and community impact and to this end we aim to encompass a principled approach in all aspects of our work.
Allegro Optical Opticians in Meltham is an integral part of the local Holmfirth community and we feel we have the ability to be a strong influence on environmental and ethical issues in the area. However we know we cannot do this by ourselves and it is for this reason that we have joined Holme Valley Fairtrade. We want to try and do more to support Fairtrade in the local area, particularly in and around Meltham. Although we are demonstrating our ethical commitment to our clients, and have a positive impact on the producers, helping to sustain their communities, we feel a need to do more. For us just serving Fairtrade products such as tea and coffee to our clients is not enough.
There is no such thing as Fairtrade spectacle lenses or frames, if there was we would sell them. However we try to buy our frames and lenses as locally as possible. Many of our frames and lenses are manufactured in the UK, reducing air miles and in turn their carbon footprint. It also supports the British economy during what is a particularly difficult and uncertain time for the UK. So when you visit Allegro Optical Opticians you can be assured that you will not only receive first class eye care, it won’t cost the Earth and it will be sourced fairly and at a fair price.
We don’t do cheap spectacle frames bought in from China, made in factories by low paid workers. Nor do we sell lenses produced in Eastern Europe by staff paid a fraction of those in the UK and with poorer living standards as a result. What you get is quality spectacles, most of them made in the UK, and all made by qualified craftsmen who are paid a fair wage. You’ll also be offered a delicious Fairtrade tea or coffee, and usually a Fairtrade biscuit too. And who knows if you pop in over the festive season you may even get a glass of Fairtrade wine or even some Divine Fairtrade Chocolates. That’s if we haven’t eaten them already!
Thank you to new Holme Valley Fairtrade members Allegro Optical for this Guest Blog.
Allegro Optical are based at 1-3 Station Street, Meltham, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 5NX Telephone 01484 0907090
On October 3rd Holme Valley Fairtrade welcomed Viswaraj Magoo and Koolskools to Honley High School as part of their nationwide tour to share the story of Fairtrade. We were honoured to have been asked to host an event and invited schools, businesses, and friends to join us for a ‘Cotton On To Fairtrade Coffee Morning.’
It was a privilege to hear Viswaraj speak about his life in the clothing industry in Mauritius and Madagascar. It brought home the importance of asking ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ and caring about the answer.
Vishwaraj used to work as a production manager for a large clothing manufacturer. He worked long hours and made sure his staff worked long hours too. He admits he was well paid as manager, but his staff, weren’t. They worked, on average, 72 hours a week to meet deadlines and sales targets. “They [the company] were interested in profit first of all, and second, and third. They took all the juice out of their workers. In every circumstance it was about profit.”
He shared stories of how workers were sacked for “no real reason”; for talking too loudly, for being late, for simply expressing themselves. “There were always a lot of people looking for work, so we could do what we wanted.”
But two things happened which changed his life. He experienced the rough edge of management when he needed to take time off to spend time with his family when his daughter was ill – he wasn’t allowed. When he wanted to go home for Christmas – he wasn’t allowed. “I asked myself – what is more important – family? Welfare? Social life? or profit? I realised I needed to leave, where I worked, what I was doing, was like slavery.”
And then Viswaraj met Craft Aid – a Fair Trade company in Mauritius, making textiles and putting people first. “I never knew that could be possible, it was a world of difference. You could take breaks during the day, lunch was paid time, you could have leave, join unions, there was a workers council. WOW! My life changed.”
Unfortunately Craft Aid closed in 2014 as they couldn’t sell enough Fairtrade cotton. But with help and guidance from KoolSkools, Viswaraj took over the factory and restarted the company. “And now we have to sell to survive!”
“I’m pleased and proud to be in the family of Fairtrade. But people have to support it. People have to buy Fairtrade. It makes a huge difference to the lives of producers. It brings change, it brings smiles to people you don’t know. The only way is to support Fairtrade.”
And he’s right.
Koolskools are a brilliant way to engage with Fairtrade. (www.koolskools.co.uk) Their Fairtrade cotton uniform is perfect for schools – as everyday uniform or special occasion Year 6 or school trip hoodies. And it’s not just for schools – Holme Valley Fairtrade members’ fairandfunky and The Black Cat Bistro both proudly wear Fairtrade uniform from Koolskools.
Do take time to look for the Fairtrade mark when you go shopping. Ask questions about the supply chain and challenge companies to make the switch. Together we can make real change.
KoolSkools, Holme Valley Fairtrade and the staff and students of Honley High School are all excited to welcome you to a very special Fairtrade coffee morning, where guests will meet our guest Fairtrade speaker from Mauritius, Mr Viswaraj Maghoo; and discover how to take action for Fairtrade in the Holme Valley!
Date: Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Times: 9 am to 11 am
Location: Honley High School, Station Road, Holmfirth. HD9 6QJ
Cotton on To Fairtrade Coffee Morning!
A celebration event of all things Fairtrade in the Holme Valley – with informal networking over tea, coffee and cake!
The events keynote Fairtrade speaker, Mr Viswaraj Maghoo, is the Managing Director of the KoolSkools Fairtrade-licensed clothing factory in Mauritius. Mr Maghoo will share his story and describe his life-changing experiences from working in a sweatshop to being employed by a Fairtrade-licensed Factory.
You are invited!
We are inviting all members of our community to the event from teachers and student representatives from schools across Kirklees and local business representatives to share in a celebration of all things Fairtrade.
And we would love YOU to join us!
‘Cotton on to Fairtrade Coffee Morning’ is a brilliant opportunity to hear directly from a Fairtrade producer and discover the differences our actions here in the Holme Valley make to the people who grow our food and make our clothes.
Please RSVP to:
Helen Robinson – Chair of Holme Valley Fairtrade email@example.com
We look forward to welcoming you all to this unique Fairtrade experience!
By Julia Roebuck, Upcycle Fashion.
On 24 April 2013 the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed. Killing 1,138 people and injuring 2,500 more, it is the country’s worst industrial disaster. Factory fires, unsafe buildings, low wages, child labour, pollution and little to no union representation had been a problem within the fashion and textiles industry for many years. Small independent fashion labels, charities, NGOs and activists around the world were campaigning for ethical and industrial changes where they could but never had a global platform to push the message. The movement was growing, but it would take the collapse of the Rana Plaza to change the face of the global campaign and begin a Fashion Revolution.
A growing number of designers, buyers, researchers, academics and others working within the fashion and textiles sector had been frustrated for years at the lack of significant progress and willing to make ethical improvements throughout the supply chain in the fashion sector.
A supply chain that had manufactured increased output and supported phenomenal growth for the fashion and textiles industry throughout the 90’s, mass producing garments to sell at ever cheaper prices. The shock, anger and sadness that followed the collapse of the Rana Plaza united two London designers and ethical fashion advocators, Orsola de Castro and Carry Somers to begin Fashion Revolution. This would become a movement initiated by industry professionals but driven by citizens, by anyone who buys clothes, to say enough is enough.
The first Fashion Revolution Day was held on the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse. The Fashion Revolution call to action was simple: Chose an item of clothing, wear it inside out, take a selfie showing the label and send directly to the brand on social media, along with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes.
However, this question was not easy for many fashion brands to respond to and it forced them to tackle many complex problems head on. It is because of this that the questions need to continue to be asked.
Now in its third year, the campaign has coordinating teams in 100 countries and for the first time extended the campaign from one day to one week, named “the only fashion week worth caring about", by online magazine thedebrief.co.uk. The first Fashion Revolution Week ended on Monday and comprised a series of independently organised international events including open studios, meet the maker workshops, lectures, fashion shows and meetings with governments and politicians to engage them to take action. Highlights closest to home included taking the Fashion Revolution message to the European parliament to negotiate new legislation for a safer, cleaner, fairer and more transparent apparel industry.
“Fashion Revolution Week is a time when hundreds of thousands of people all around the world take to social media and the streets to ask one simple question: who made my clothes? We believe this simple question gets people thinking differently about what they wear. We believe this simple question has the power to push the industry to be more transparent. If brands and retailers are encouraged to answer this question, they must take a closer look at their supply chains.” Commented Sarah Ditty, Fashion Revolution’s Head of Policy at her recent speech at the European Parliament.
Fashion Revolution gives everyone an opportunity through social media platforms to engage in a conversation directly with the fashion brands to push for transparency. As a collective voice, the customers of clothing companies can share how much they care about who made their clothes, and be heard.
“We have the right to know that our money is not supporting exploitation, human rights abuses, and environmental destruction” Fashion Transparency Index 2017.
What has changed?
The first three years of the campaign has driven major changes in the global textile and fashion manufacturing framework. The Fashion Revolution Global Coordination Team work throughout the year to produce resources, research and reports to be shared throughout the campaign and demonstrate the successes and remaining challenges. One of the most important campaign documents is The Fashion Transparency Index “A review of 100 of the biggest global fashion brands and retailers ranked according to how much they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impact. Brands achieved on average 49 out of 250, which is less than 20% of the total possible points. And none of the brands on the list scored above 50% — proving that there is still a long way to go towards transparency.
Fanzine – a creative, informative magazine with examples of calls to action to raise money to support the organisation of the movement.
Publishing Factory Lists - ASOS, Gap, Marks & Spencer, and several others published their factory lists.
Free education resources about ethical fashion and images and information to be used in the press and on social media can be found on the Fashion Revolution website.
What can you do?
The campaign is a platform to support anyone to take action, to engage directly with the retailers to find out who made your clothes. Even by asking the question you make a difference. In the third year of the campaign there are more ways than ever to be part of the Fashion Revolution.
The vales behind Fashion Revolution are shared by Holme Valley Fairtrade and the following local businesses, championing ethical values and transparency in the fashion sector:
The Fair Trader - http://fairtrader.coop/
OTSO - https://www.otso.clothing/
Aura Que - http://www.auraque.com/
Upcycle Fashion - http://www.upcyclefashion.co.uk/
Please spare 5 minutes to photograph an item of clothing and the label and send to the brand asking Who Made My Clothes? The campaign has a massive social media following, so you can get involved on twitter, facebook and instagram on @Fash_Rev #WhoMadeMyClothes . If that’s not your thing, then an email, a letter or postcard to the retailer’s Head Office will make a difference too. Our collective voice cannot be ignored.
Make a fashion statement that matters.
It’s now over a month since Palestinians Bassema Barahmeh and Lamis Zamzam were refused entry by UK Visa and Immigration (#WhyNoVisa and #NoVisaNoTrade). Despite these campaigns and support from MPs including Jason McCartney, UK Visa and Immigration refused to reconsider the visa applications.
The ban on these goodwill ambassadors, (who were to be guests of the UK-based social enterprise, Zaytoun – zaytoun.org) comes exactly a year after these same farmers became the first olive oil producers in the world to be granted Fairtrade status. They were due to visit schools, Fairtrade supporters and community events during Fairtrade Fortnight, as part of a Co-operative College supported SUSY (solidarityeconomy.eu) speaker tour.
Bassema, from Anza village in the West Bank, produces about 300 litres of organic, Fairtrade olive oil each year, is a member of the Palestinian Fair Trade Association and village council member.
Lamis works in marketing at Canaan Fair Trade – one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of Fairtrade almonds and olive oil. Lamis is also a Board member of Shathaya Theatre – working with people affected by the trauma of living under occupation.
Cathi Pawson, Director of Zaytoun said “At a time when our government has a policy of supporting the development of the Palestinian economy, and Fairtrade olive oil is one of its few success stories to date, this refusal to grant visas is inexplicable, and displays a woeful lack of joined up thinking across departments.”
In October 2016, the British Consul General in Jerusalem, Dr Alastair McPhail, publicised UK support for 36 Palestinian olive-producing communities. This initiative provided £20,000 of harvesting equipment to over 300 Palestinian families.
Dr McPhail said “I’m proud to launch our initiative to support Palestinian olive growers in vulnerable areas of the West Bank, for the second year in a row. I hope that this exciting partnership with the PA Commission Against the Wall and Settlements will provide Palestinian farmers, in some of the most vulnerable areas, with the confidence and resilience to harvest their olives during these difficult times.”
This support is of limited use (or ‘value for money’ in UK government-speak) if the producers are prevented from expanding trade links to promote and sell the products of their labours.
The UK Government remains committed to promoting trade and business ties with Israel; labelling and identification of items produced in ‘Israeli settlements/Occupied Territories’ remains voluntary. UK Government departments need to work together more convincingly if they are to transform government rhetoric about support for the Palestinian economy into reality.
The Huddersfield Palestinian Support Network is holding an event on the afternoon of Saturday 24th June in Helme village. This event is supported by Holmfirth’s Fair Trader (fairtrader.coop). Starting in the village, a one-hour walk will be followed by a Strawberry Tea, and the chance to look at and buy Palestinian products, including Zaytoun foods, cookbooks and Taybeh beer.
Volunteer and Board Member, Fair Trader
Fairtrade Fortnight is a real opportunity to SHOUT about Fairtrade and this year I joined Fairtrade campaigners from across the UK to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight at an event in Parliament. Organised by the Fairtrade APPG and The Fairtrade Foundation the event was to celebrate the activities of the Fairtrade campaigner network up and down the country, and to show MPs the commitment for Fairtrade at the grass roots level.
For me, the event was a chance to demonstrate that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or where you live - we all have the power to change the world with Fairtrade. The room in Parliament was full of people from all walks of life, from all corners of the UK and all political parties; coming together to share a passion and a commitment to a common goal: Fairtrade.
We all have our part to play – whether you are offering your neighbour or work colleague a Fairtrade brew, or taking to the streets as a banana; whether you host an event or share a tweet; whether you write to your MP or speak to a Government Minister. EACH of these actions makes a huge difference, and they are all connected. One does not happen without the other; it is by working together as consumers, campaigners and policy makers, that we will create real change for the poorest people in our world.
This was echoed throughout the event in Parliament. I spoke to Government Ministers and MPs, I spoke to students from Leys School and campaigners from Wales. I spoke to Government Whips and members of the Lords. I spoke to business leaders and Fairtrade Foundation staff. I spoke to Leonard Kachebonaho, a coffee farmer representative from Tanzania. All had the same agenda: to put Fairtrade at the heart of decision making, particularly at the heart of trade negotiations following Brexit.
It was empowering to hear Rory Stewart, DFID Minister of State, speak so passionately about the fact that Fairtrade matters. That development isn’t all about economic growth, but it’s about equity and justice to producers. That Fairtrade is a powerful solution; enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty as it connect consumers with producers. That Fairtrade has symbolic value and is extremely important.
To hear Rory Stewart MP speak alongside Leonard Kachebonaho was incredibly moving. He lives Fairtrade and could share, with real passion, the difference it makes to him and his community. “Fairtrade,” he told the room, “allows people on the ground to improve by investing the premium in social projects.” Leonard shared how Fairtrade supports farmers pastorally, through a value added supply chain, through environmental projects, through sustainability, and through improving quality; ultimately growing producers OUT of the poverty cycle. The power of Fairtrade is not to be underestimated.
The Co-op are certainly aware of the power of Fairtrade, and Cathryn Higgs was at the event to share the brilliant news that ALL co-op own brand products containing cocoa will now contain Fairtrade cocoa. From the sprinkles on a doughnut, to Easter Eggs, and even in the batter of co-op own fishfingers (yes, really) – they are showing a better way of doing business and putting Fairtrade at the core of what they do. And students from Leys School in Cambridge gave a brilliant presentation reminding us all of the power of our individual actions when we shop.
I was particularly pleased to hear from Holly Lynch MP and Jason McCartney MP. With fairandfunky, I work closely with them both, and knowing they are the co-chairs of the Fairtrade APPG gives me hope. Politically opposed, they come together, determined to put Fairtrade at the front of trade negotiations. They both talked about the power of local campaigners and how it is by working together, and sharing the stories of Fairtrade producers that Fairtrade can come into its own.
For if there is Fairtrade other things will undoubtedly follow: education, democracy, health, sanitation, empowerment and respect.
I left the event with a real sense that change is possible. There seemed to be real commitment from everyone in the room to do their bit for Fairtrade producers; and to take their own little steps to change the world. And it is down to each and every one of us to keep the conversations of Fairtrade going beyond the 14 days of Fairtrade Fortnight; keeping Fairtrade on everyone’s agenda, and making a real difference.
On Friday evening, the vibrant colours and stunning flavours of Palestinian cooking came to the Yorkshire Pennine village of Brockholes!
Palestinian community leader TAYSIR ARBASI of Zaytoun (zaytoun.org), spoke movingly about how Fairtrade is helping hard working Palestinian olive and almond farmers to find markets for their high quality produce. He spoke of the complexities for farmers striving to nurture crops, with uncertain access to water and lands, within an environment under occupation. The breathtaking scenery masks the everyday harsh reality for farmers and their families. Their way of life, now under threat, is embedded in Palestinian heritage and culture. Even the October school holidays are timetabled to allow children to join family groups to hand pick the olives. Some residents may remember a time, not so long ago, when local school holidays were built around harvest time and potato picking!
In the West Bank, co-operatives of farmers work together, to maximise efficiencies and create high quality Fairtrade products – olive oil, almonds, freekeh, maftoul, dates and herb mix Za’atar.
Taysir’s powerful words echoed a people’s desire for dignity – for farmers and their families to gain a livelihood through trade not aid. Fairtrade builds a connection between farmers and consumers, and offers some hope to a beleaguered people.
In Pennine Yorkshire, many people enjoy a good quality of life and for them choices abound. One such choice could surely be to support ZAYTOUN by telling their stories and buying the wonderful, high quality artisanal products. Fair Trader stocks ZAYTOUN Fairtrade Olive Oil (the first Fairtrade olive oil in the world), ZAYTOUN Maftoul (a giant bulgur grain with a nutty flavour), ZAYTOUN FREEKEH (roasted green Spring wheat – for savoury and sweet dishes), ZAYTOUN MEDJOUL DATES, ALMONDS and ZA’ATAR (aromatic blend of herbs).
His words provided inspiration, for us to promote Zaytoun products, and make a contribution to the farmers’ long-term financial and trading security.
Over fifty ticket holders listened to Taysir, and talked with him about the many challenges facing Palestinian farmers and producers.
They then sampled the Palestinian-style Fairtrade fare, while listening to Palestinian songs by Reem Kelani.
The menu included(CAPITAL items available from Fair Trader)
Drinks included : Palestinian TAYBEH BEER (brewed by a lady brewer), juices, wines and also a wonderful Palestinian drink of fresh mint/ freshly squeezed orange juice/lemon juice/sugar and pomegranate molasses.
SO… if each and every one of us ‘buys Zaytoun’, together we can make a difference.
Fair Trader ZAYTOUN PALESTINIAN HAMPERS – the prefect present.
Fair Trader ZAYTOUN olive oil, almonds, dates, maftoul, freekeh, za’atar.
We’re about to embark on Fairtrade Fortnight and as members of Holme Valley Fairtrade we’ve been invited to share what we do and why we do it.
At fairandfunky we empower people to take their own little steps to change the world. We run creative and interactive workshops on global themes of Fairtrade, recycling and the environment. We run events, we sell online, we blog and we take action – anything that encompasses those themes!
Fairtrade Fortnight is a campaign initiative from The Fairtrade Foundation – a chance for all Fairtrade campaigners to raise awareness and SHOUT about Fairtrade, wherever they are. And fairandfunky are no different – we are getting ready to SHOUT.
Fairtrade is one of the ways each and every one of us can take our own little step to change the world. Fairtrade connects us with the people behind the product – when you buy Fairtrade you are choosing to buy into a system which works with and alongside the poorest people in our world to trade out of poverty. Fairtrade enables farmers and workers to earn a fair price for the work they do, it gives them a voice in decision making, and empowers women. Fairtrade creates real opportunity and makes real change for farmers and their communities.
Don’t just take our word for it. We have been lucky enough to meet, and speak to, a number of Fairtrade producers and have heard powerful words of how Fairtrade has made a difference. “Fairtrade has literally changed our way of thinking. It’s taught us to look after what is ours – for example our natural environment. It’s taught us to look after the health and safety of the workers on the farm. It’s given us the ability to save, so we’re able to educate our children. Even more importantly, it’s given us an opportunity to educate others in the community. In the co-operative we all get together and collectively make decisions about the best way to use the Fairtrade Premium.” Foncho Cantillo, Colombian Banana Farmer.
“Fairtrade has changed our lives so so much. We can pay for schools fees to send children to school. We have bought oxen and ox carts which has made everything so much easier!” Kenneth and Howard, Malawian Rice Farmer.
“Fairtrade makes my tea business sustainable and secures the environment. The premiums do social projects and are dear to us!” Patrick Kaberia, Kenyan Tea Farmer.
These conversations are really humbling. The things that have changed their lives, we take for granted – a roof on their houses, better transport, schools for their children, food on their tables. It inspires us to keep going and to continue to stand up for farmers and give them a voice; and to share the message of Fairtrade as far and wide as we can.
This Fairtrade Fortnight we plan to do just that –we’re organising 3 schools conferences which, in total, will inspire 275 students and 60 teachers to take Fairtrade back to their schools and communities. We’re leading 3 assemblies in local schools to share the message of Divine Chocolate and how they work to change the world. We’re running two Fairtrade focussed SCRAPtastic workshops in Huddersfield, alongside the fairandfunky pop-up shop. We’re speaking at an event in Halifax Minster to share ideas on local campaigning. And we’re also going to Parliament to engage MPs in conversation about Brexit and Fairtrade. Not forgetting BANANA BREAKOUT on Saturday 4th March with our Holme Valley Fairtrade friends.
It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it. And when Fairtrade currently only touches 1% of trade globally; and when half of the world’s hungry are farmers; this work is just the beginning.
So we invite you, to join us, wherever you are and however you can. Take a read of our Fairtrade Fortnight guest blogs over a cup of Fairtrade tea, share fairandfunky news on social media*, tell a school about the work we do or come along to one of our events. Whatever step you take, makes a HUGE difference to farmers and producers, and it is my taking all these little steps together that we will change the world.
*Find us on facebook, twitter and Instagram!
Holme Valley Fairtrade
Holme Valley Fairtrade is a group of individuals from around the Holme Valley working together to promote Fairtrade and encourage people to shop local, think global.