Fairtrade clothing

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Information about Fairtrade clothing

Published on October 5, 2008

Author: GeoDave

Source: authorstream.com

Slide 1: Martha, Robin and Diko, aged 14 and 15, are pupils at Cheney School in Oxford. Environmental and ethical issues form an important part of their school's curriculum. The school has its own fair trade club and has recently been awarded with an Eco-School Green Award. Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Slide 2: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure They're angry at how their school uniforms are made and at what they see as the greed of the high street clothes shops. They are concerned about the wages and the working conditions of the people making the clothes. Slide 3: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure So, they are embarking on a mission of a lifetime to India to redress the balance. They are seeking the means to make their own ethical school shirt to sell to their fellow pupils back home. As Martha explains, "We don't want our school shirts to be made in a sweat shop. We want to be sure the workers who made them were treated fairly and paid well. Our mission in India is to make an ethical school shirt. One we can be proud of." Slide 4: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure During the course of their road trip through the cotton fields and factories, they experience at first hand the darker side of the garment industry - and they are stunned when they discover that the average annual wage for an Indian worker is £493. Robin is particularly shocked as he reveals he gets double that in pocket money alone. Slide 5: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure The girls in the field show the teenagers how they pollinate each cotton plant individually by hand. They do this twelve hours a day, seven days a week, come rain or shine. Martha and Diko are further stunned when an Indian worker explains that only the girls do this, not boys or men, as it is felt that the males cannot bend down for as long a time as the females. From this moment on, it really begins to hit home to the Oxford threesome how different their lives could have been had they simply been born somewhere else. Deep in the Indian countryside at a local cotton field, the teenagers discover that some of the workers there are as young as nine. Rather than attend school like the Oxford children, these Indian children spend their days bent double over the fields working for 60 pence a day. Slide 6: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure In order to try to grow more cotton, they use lots of chemical pesticides but they do not take precautions like covering their faces or their bodies. This can have severe health consequences, particularly when they spray in the hot sun. As a local fair trade campaigner explains to the teenagers. "They develop nausea, sickness and some, they'll have nervous problems." Next stop: Warangal, the heart of one of India's huge cotton growing areas, where every shop there seems to sell chemical pesticides. It turns out that there is no fair trade there, so the farmers earn a very low price for their crops. Slide 7: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure They see youngsters who have been blinded and crippled as a result of the chemicals. Martha, Robin and Diko are clearly upset by what they see and learn. "It's terrible to think that the clothes we buy back home could be responsible for harming people in that way," says Martha. "It makes us more determined than ever to make a difference." Many of the pesticides they use here are so harmful that they are banned in UK. Yet they are used by most of India's four million cotton farmers. The shell-shocked threesome are led back to the village to see the physical realities of how these pesticides have affected people here. Slide 8: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure The teenagers finally discover that Indian farmers and workers do not have to be exploited. After another eight hours on the road, they finally reach a place where fair trade cotton is grown, in the remote Indian village of Choupanguda. Slide 9: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Kusum Rao, the head farmer, shows them around and explains that all the cotton grown here is fair trade, which means the farmers get a better price for their crops. The cotton is also organic, which means they do not use any chemical pesticides. Kusum Rao is now receiving a fair price for his crop and measures have also been adopted to protect the environment and prevent the local children from working in the fields. Slide 10: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Time to meet the locals... and reflect. "Fairtrade and organic is about a lot more than having a label on your clothes. It really affects people's lives." Slide 11: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Now they have their Fairtrade organic cotton, the teenagers have to find a factory to make their shirt. So they travel to Tirupur the garment capital of India. Slide 12: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure The threesome visit factories where good working conditions are guaranteed, and in the end they have the choice of two ethical organisations which are prepared to produce the very garment that they are after - an ethical and cool school top! But which one is most in-keeping with what their trip is all about? Slide 13: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Making their final decision proves to be a complex task. Slide 14: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure The girl's and boy's shirts are finally made - for just £4 each. The order is placed. Slide 15: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Back in England, our adventurers tell their school all about Martha, Robin and Diko's Big Fairtrade Adventure. Slide 16: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Their final worry... will they be able to convince their classmates to actually buy one?Now, if they can produce an organic, ethically-made school shirt, why can't the big high street brands do the same? Slide 17: Our Big Fairtrade Adventure Warangal – cotton growing area Tirupur the garment capital of India. India Slide 18: All images are copyright Channel 4 The powerpoint is based on the program ‘Our Big Fairtrade Adventure’ broadcast by Channel 4 on 17th February 2008 Links: Cheney School Oxfordwww.cheney.oxon.sch.uk Social Awareness and Voluntary Education (SAVE)www.villagefocus.org/countries/india_partners/save_background.htmThe only NGO working full time in the garment industry hub town of Tirupur. Labour Behind the Labelwww.labourbehindthelabel.orgSupports garment workers' efforts worldwide to defend their rights. No sweatwww.nosweat.org.ukCampaigns against sweatshops worldwide. Clean Clotheswww.cleanclothes.orgCampaigns to improve conditions in the garment industry worldwide.

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