When we read an article about Driffield Junior School in the local Driffield Times and Post in October in 2014 entitled “Forging Links Between Driffield and Malawi”, we made early contact with Driffield’s principal Fairtrade teacher, Catherine Greenaway.
What caught Koolskools eye in the Driffield Times article was that the Driffield Juniors, through their school’s Fairtrade activities, had raised £500 towards exercise books, writing materials and first aid equipment for Namididi Primary School in Malawi. Teacher Mrs Nicky Davies, who has visited Malawi, said “Some children have even sent letters and pictures out to the school. We have been raising money for 4 years. A previous donation of £200 was used to build four temporary classrooms”.
A Malawian health education worker, Peatry Ntdowa, involved in his country’s fight against HIV/AIDS, had recently spent a morning speaking to a whole-school Assembly at Driffield Junior school, plus individual classes.
After making contact, Koolskools were delighted to have the opportunity to speak to the Driffield Juniors during Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 about the plight of developing country cotton farmers. Maintaining our policy of conducting Fairtrade education with our client schools the length and breadth of the UK, Mike from Koolskools made the journey from the South Coast to Yorkshire on 25 February and taught the Driffield Juniors all about how difficult it is for cotton farmers in India to achieve a fair price for their cotton due to international trading imbalances that favour subsidised cotton farmers from rich countries. By trading under Fairtrade terms, Indian cotton farmers are given a chance to sell their cotton at a fair price and also gain benefits for their communities through the Fairtrade Social Premium.
In parallel with learning all about Fairtrade cotton, the Driffield Year 6 students have also been given the chance by their school to convert what they learnt through more direct action in support of Fairtrade. Working closely with Koolskools, in the summer of 2015 Driffield will offer them the opportunity to buy bespoke school leavers’ hoodies made in ethical factories with Fairtrade cotton.
Speaking about the hoodies, Mrs Greenaway said: “…..We were so impressed with the quality and affordability of the Koolskools garments made with Fairtrade cotton. This made the decision to introduce the hoodies an easy one for us. The hoodies will provide a positive and constant reminder to the Year 6s of their engagement with Fairtrade at Driffield….”
On Mike’s Fairtrade Fortnight visit, Mrs Greenaway said:
“……the children got an enormous amount from it and the teachers were really impressed with the way you presented it all. They all assumed you must have a background in education! We know you travelled an enormous distance for us and we really appreciate all you did.”
So, all Fairtrade and aspiring Fairtrade schools please take note!