VIDEO: St Maxentius becomes the country's 1,000th Fairtrade school
Buy this photo » MILESTONE St Maxentius CE Primary School has become the 1,000th to be Fairtrade certified
THEY may only be primary school age, but children at St Maxentius CE Primary School know they can help make the world a fairer and just place.
The school has become the 1,000th Fairtrade certified school in the UK which illustrates its commitment to ending the exploitation of poor people across the world and ensure they get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
Fairtrade cotton producer Arun Ambatipudi travelled from India to thank the school in person and tell them in person what a difference they are making. He was joined by leading members of the Fairtrade Foundation for the celebration event marking the milestone in the organisation’s work.
Children put on a short play showing how money was divided in the trade chain with the seller ending up with the most and the producer the least — and why money should be passed down that chain.
St Maxentius CE Primary School gained Fairtrade School status after incorporating Fairtrade into lessons, with staff and pupils learning about trade across the globe.
Mr Ambatipudi presented the award to the pupils and staff at the school, and Clare Bennett, headteacher, said: “We are over the moon at being awarded not only with Fairtrade School Status, but also to have the honour of being the 1,000th school.
“Throughout the year we’ve touched on issues surrounding poverty, social justice and human rights, with pupils being able to explore the complexities of these, develop understanding and become more rounded global citizens.
“I’m extremely proud of staff and pupils who have worked towards achieving Fairtrade status.”
She added: “Caring for others is a Christian value of this school which we teach to children. We didn’t do it for the award, getting it was a bonus and becoming the 1,000th school was a bigger bonus.”
Fairtrade has been incorporated into lessons, from PSHE to maths, from discussions on how much farmers are paid in the developing countries, to the amount of Fairtrade ingredients needed for a cake.
Pupils hold community events and encouraged school cooks to use Fairtrade ingredients.
Arun, who is also a member of the Board at the Fairtrade Foundation, says: “It’s wonderful to see children across the UK learn about trade justice and the difference Fairtrade can make to those at the other end of the supply chain.
“I want to congratulate St Maxentius for all their hard work in gaining Fairtrade status, and hope to see more schools taking on the rewarding challenge of becoming a Fairtrade school.”
He said people who support Fairtrade help girls to gain an education, give stronger negotiation powers to farmers, health care and ultimately sustainable communities.
The Fairtrade schools scheme started in 2007 to help young people understand development issues and help tackle global poverty through trade.
As of July 2013 this year there were more than 5,000 schools registered as working towards the Fairtrade Schools Award. Being a Fairtrade school means that young people understand how trade works and how everyone can work together, to make it fairer.
Schools use and promote Fairtrade products, and also take action for Fairtrade in their local communities. Children also develop their confidence and skills, such as enterprise, through planning and running events to promote Fairtrade.
Kate Jones, Fairtrade Schools Manager, said: “Reaching this landmark demonstrates not only the huge commitment and enthusiasm of young people, their teachers and everyone in schools across the UK, it’s also testament to the appeal of Fairtrade, as a serious topic for classroom discussion, and as an engaging activity around the whole school. Most importantly, it shows that the everyday decisions of everyone — no matter what age — really do matter.”
School children from Malawi recorded a televised message especially for the children at St Maxentius for the special celebration which can be seen here:
Charlotte Busby, aged eight who is a pupil at St Maxentius, said: “I think it is very special that we have the Fairtrade Award. I like to help other people and so I think this is very important.”
William Fox, aged eight, added: “The school uses Fairtrade products in the school and has Fairtrade footballs and netballs.
“I always try to get my parents to buy Fairtrade because some of the producers work 18 hours a day.”
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