World Fair Trade Day: May 12

Today is World Fair Trade Day and this year's theme is "Kids and Fair Trade". This drawing was done by a child in a Bangladeshi school supported by Fair Trade organisations and is entitled "small change, big difference, fair trade." Children in developing countries need Fair Trade for the simple reason that their parents are paid substandard wages. This often means that children have to work rather than go to school. The International Labour Organization estimates that 126 million children aged 5—14 work in dangerous and illegal conditions worldwide — 73 million of them younger than ten years old. Coffee, cocoa (chocolate), bananas, oranges and sugar are among the food sectors that most exploit child labour as do cotton and textiles, carpets and rugs, jewellery and sports balls. Most children do not get health care when they need it--on average 30,000 die of poverty every day; often victims of malnutrition and easily treatable diseases like measles. Every time we buy Fair Trade we can improve a child's life because Fair Trade helps poor families earn a decent living and it improves communities by giving them resources. It can mean that families earn enough money to send their children to school. There are numerous heart-warming examples of womens' co-operatives set up that now have the resources to provide health care and support to their families. Seeing this empowerment changes a child's outlook and understanding of the possibilities that the world has to offer. As one teenage daughter said: "At school I have started my own co-operative for girls only. We think that it is not fair that the girls have to do all the housework while the boys can ride around the village on their bicycles and play football. We think the work should be equal between the girls and the boys." Do your bit: buy Fair Trade. :: World Fair Trade Day

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