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Angel of the North; a mentor shows how Wear all needed to bring about Fair Trade

This week we have a guest blog from the world of volunteering, written by Lucy Walker, who is a mentor at People and Planet.

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This week we have a guest blog from the world of volunteering, written by Lucy Walker, who is a mentor at People and Planet.

Two weeks ago I was preparing for my first visit to a school in Sunderland to give my first WearFair Campaign workshop to 300 students, years 7 and 8. I fashioned homemade flashcards with old dividers and went through the presentation to work out what worked well and what didn’t work so well for me.

I wasn’t expecting the high tech auditorium I was provided with when I arrived, complete with gallery, clicker that didn’t need to be pointed at the screen, almost invisible microphone and hand held mic for ‘chat show effect’. Important advice? Meet the IT guy and make him your best friend – he will be your saviour when the technology fails!

As the hall filled up the nerves kicked in but the flashcards, signs and chocolate provided me with some form of security blanket. A teacher was telling his form that we were here to have a talk on Fair Trade. One girl at the front piped up that she had done it so many times, that she hated it and that it was so boooooring. I wandered over and said that this was different, more fun, to which I received the classic eye roll!

The room seemed fit to burst as I was introduced. I was off to a shaky start with the question ‘where are your clothes from?’ eliciting responses including any country (or planet) the room could think of! My saving grace? The Simpsons video! Everyone was suddenly paying attention. The conditions in the video were somehow much more relatable when involving such familiar characters. As the room got involved, I relaxed, sitting on the stage so I, and consequently the room, felt more comfortable. The quiz really got everyone thinking about what was fair. After many answers in the range of 100 years to ‘How many years would a worker need to work for to make the same as Kate Moss?’ one joker shouted out 2,500 – how surprised he and everyone else was when he was right!

The blame game followed. Warning: careful when promising chocolate to volunteers in a room of 300! Half the room were reaching for the ceiling! I had signs for the different groups and got the room to suggest reasons why one group may blame another. By this point everyone was shouting out. We moved onto Fair Trade and a simplified version of the chocolate game using prices to involve more people– for every pound spent put up your hand if you think the chocolate company gets over 10p... 20p...etc? However it confused a few having it here as they thought that this was the fair trade split since that was the slide in the background.

I finished up with the explanation of how everyone could get involved and had twenty minutes to spare which was great as there were so many questions (including a marriage proposal)! Everyone was interested to hear that this was happening in other schools – to get them all talking would be fantastic. I was told that the current supply chain is ‘ridiculous’ and given lots of suggestions as to how I could improve it – from starting a charity recycling uniforms to making a company that gives all its money to the growers to ‘making it like Cuba where everyone’s paid the same – why don’t they just do that?’. These gave a great starting point to what wasn’t possible but also what was – and to be done by them!

And the girl at the front? Her hand was first up when the room was asked who would be interested in coming back for the next workshop.

Lucy Walker

Lucy is one of 90 Generation Fairtrade graduate mentors running workshops in schools and colleges across the country for People and Planet, the largest student network in Britain. People and Planet campaigns to end world povertydefend human rights and protect the environment. It is a student-led movement that empowers young people with the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to make change happen, both at home and globally.

 

Do you attend or work for a school that is interested in Fairtrade, but needs a bit of help to get going? How would you like a mentor to work with your school to help you work on the Fairtrade Schools Award and get your school campaigning on Fairtrade?

Click here for more information on how to get going with Fairtrade.

 

Why not leave us a comment below on Lucy's experience?

 

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