Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 is approaching fast, when Koolskools will conduct another intensive speaking tour of schools in Scotland, England and Wales. We shall talk to students all about our ethical clothing chain, and give them the opportunity to learn about the Global Citizenship benefits of buying Fairtrade cotton school uniform.
BUT……this year we shall be bucking conventional textiles industry norms, and almost certainly doing something that no other “rich country” clothing company has ever done before…
…in partnership with our Fairtrade-licensed Mauritius factory, we are bringing to the UK one of the seamstresses from the factory to help us sell the very Fairtrade garments that the wonderful Pamela Intelligent and her fellow workers have sewn!
How “Kool” is that?!
During our tour of UK schools we shall also be briefing Headteachers, School Business Managers and PTAs about how easy it is to make the switch to school uniform made with Fairtrade cotton. Pamela, who will be beavering away sewing Koolskools Fairtrade cotton clothes as we write this blog, will be arriving in Scotland on 24 February to help us do just that.
The beneficial impact that Pamela had on our nascent Fairtrade relationships with many Scottish schools during her Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 tour was truly something to behold (see our March 2015 blog). So last Autumn we began talking to the factory about bringing Pamela to the UK again this year to share her amazing life story with more UK school students, and to help us try to persuade more UK Headteachers to engage with Fairtrade cotton uniform.
Last year Pamela spent two very busy and enjoyable weeks in Scotland under the auspices of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF) and the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Group EFTCG), having flown on an aeroplane for the first time in her life! This year will be another “first” for Pamela, when she steps on a boat for the very first time! We shall be sailing to Orkney on 25 February on North Link Ferries, whose crew Pamela may be able to spot wearing one of our Fairtrade cotton polos.
To coincide with Pamela’s visit, and in order to raise the profile of Fairtrade cotton in Scottish schools, the SFTF launched a “Design a Fairtrade Cotton Hoodie” competition, which we were delighted to see that schools from all over Scotland entered. The 6 winning entries were announced towards the end of last year, and Pamela will be presenting each of the 6 winners with a brand new, bespoke hoodie sporting their individual winning print design at an SFTF Fairtrade Fortnight Scottish Schools Conference in Glasgow on 1 March.
The day before, on 29 February, The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh will be presenting “Special Achievement Awards” to several Scottish schools that have embraced school uniform made with Fairtrade cotton. Schools from Edinburgh and many other parts of Scotland will be in attendance at this special celebratory event, endorsed by the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Group, to mark the participating schools’ individual efforts to give their students the chance to convert what they have learnt about the plight of vulnerable cotton farmers in the developing world into direct action in support of Fairtrade.
Pamela will also be visiting schools in England and Wales for the first time during the forthcoming tour, where amongst other events she will be speaking at a big Fairtrade Fortnight Schools Conference at The Leys School in Cambridge, and at multi-schools events at Cathays High School and Osbaston Church in
Wales School, under the auspices of Fairtrade Cardiff. The Wales events are supported by grant funding from “Hub Cymru Africa”, a collaboration bringing together the work of Wales Africa Community Links, the Wales for Africa Health Links Network, the Sub Saharan Advisory Panel, Fair Trade Wales and the Wales International Development Hub.
So, we look forward to giving Pamela a warm welcome to the UK again this year. We are truly delighted that Pamela is prepared to leave her lovely family in Mauritius again to help Koolskools in our mission to bring more vulnerable, developing-country cotton farmers and their communities out of poverty through Fairtrade.