What an inspiring and encouraging environment for Fairtrade education and Fairtrade cotton! That was our conclusion following the latest Koolskools visit to Scotland, on which see our scene-setting August blog.
The visit took place between 7 and 18 September, during which we spoke to schools in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Ellon, Aberlour, Inverness and Elgin. Nearly 2,000 miles were covered on the trip, and we were able to conduct 40 Fairtrade educational Assemblies and school class sessions, aided by the many enthusiastic Headteachers and Fairtrade teachers who kindly smoothed our path.
During the visit Koolskools also took part in the judging for the “Design a Fairtrade Hoodie Competition” at the Scottish Fair Trade Forum on 9 September. The standard of design, and the level of imagination on the part of the students, was remarkable to say the least. It was very difficult indeed to pick 6 winners, 3 from the Primary/Junior school category, 3 from the Secondary school category. But we managed to choose 6 winners, after much deliberation, and the prize winners will be awarded with their brand new Koolskools Fairtrade cotton hoodies, sporting their winning designs, during Fairtrade Fortnight 2016.
There were so many highlights on this trip it is difficult to single particular schools out, but some of the many high points included the extraordinarily positive vibe of the students at St Catherine’s RC Primary in Edinburgh, St Joseph’s RC Primary in Aberdeen, and Milne’s Primary in Elgin, the 3 latest schools in Scotland to embrace Koolskools Fairtrade cotton school uniform; a very rewarding session looking at Fairtrade in the context of children’s and basic rights with the P6s and 7s at Aberlour Primary; and some serious and positive interest in our project from parents at West End Primary in Elgin.
There was tremendous enthusiasm for the new Koolskools Fairtrade cotton uniform during the Assembly at St Joseph’s RC Primary school, the very first school in Aberdeen to embrace Fairtrade cotton school uniform.
Not surprisingly, one of the most inspiring individual moments of the tour came from one of the students themselves, whose imagination and insight on Fairtrade never ceases to amaze us. When we were winding up our Upper School Assembly at Craiglockhart Primary School in Edinburgh, we had established with the students that the first Fairtrade product was coffee, and that it had been produced in 1989. We told the students that many economic experts at that time were very sceptical about any trading process in which consumers may be being asked to pay a little more for products just because the farmers at the other end of the supply chain could be paid fairly.
So our final question to the Craiglockhart Assembly was: “Why did Fairtrade prevail, and prove the sceptics wrong?”. Without hesitation, Julia Bromberger A P5 student, put her hand straight up and said: “Because some people wanted to see a fairer world”. Of course we couldn’t have put it better, and what an inspiring and fitting end to a Fairtrade Assembly. Well done Julia!