Sunday, 26 February 2012

Fairtrade Fortnight, Love Zimbabwe

Blue skies, sun shining, birds singing...a lovely morning enhanced by the floods of snowdrops that have appeared and the increasing numbers of daffodils that are flowering each day. Small skeins of Canada geese are beginning to appear in the valley. We hear them before we see them, their haunting cry redolent of wild open northern spaces so different to the softer enclosed land of our valley with the river winding its way to estuary where they will spend the summer.

Yesterday the Farmer & I went to Newcastle Emlyn, our small town about 6 miles away, to a Fairtrade Launch Celebration as part of Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from February 27th - 11th March. This had been organised by our friend J. (http://www.bagage-fairtrade.co.uk/) who has worked hard to bring Fairtrade to this area and now thanks to her efforts Newcastle Emlyn (NCE) is well on its way to becoming a Fairtrade Town.
A couple of short & very moving talks were given by by Zimbabwean Martha Musonza Holman & her son Taurai Sinaro on how important Fairtrade is to her country & her people. She said that so much aid has been given to Africa over many years but because it goes through governments & politicians it rarely gets to help those people at whom it is directed, but with Fairtrade money goes straight to the farmers & producers & not through government agencies. Fairtrade is enabling women to earn enough money to send their children to school & to provide fresh water supplies to villages.
Martha has set up Love Zimbabwe (http://www.lovezimbabwe.co.uk/) which developes links between Zimbabwe & Wales. She lives in Abergavenny from where she travels all over Wales & eleswhere, encouraging local authorities, schools & retailers to use Fairtrade products of which there are over a thousand, anything from chocolate, coffee, bananas to hand-printed batik fabrics, jewellery & ceramics. The money from the sale of the items that Martha supplies goes directly to the members of women's co-operatives in Zimbabwe. She designs the batiks and the members of her womens groups in Zimbabwe make them. I bought a length of lovely fabric printed in blue & white with a pattern of guinea fowl on it. Fairtrade goods can be found in many shops and even if one buys just the occasional Fairtrade bar of chocolate or some coffee beans it all helps.
Many towns throughout Wales have Fairtrade status (http://www.fairtradewales.com/).

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