On Tuesday several KS3 classes were able to connect with a Nicaraguan Coffee Farmer thanks to the wonders of Zoom and Bath University.
Students were able to listen to a presentation from Erika, a 39 year old single mother of four who runs her own smallholding with her family, before a question and answer session through a translator. They learnt all about her life as a coffee producer and member of a group of women farmers who support one another and receive fair prices for their hard toil. Her smallholding has a little over 2 hectares of coffee as well as growing other fruit and veg. She shared how being a member of a fairtrade sponsored cooperative like this has seen many benefits and achievements for her life, the most significant having been the improvements to her home. She has been able to have a new roof installed and she has also toilet inside the house rather than the old outdoor one which was not safe for her and her daughters Erika used to have a small house and a very small income; the change to the present day shows the progress she has made since she became a member and been able to increase her family income thanks to the fact that her coffee is certified and marketed through Fairtrade.
Erika is an entrepreneur and a leader in her cooperative. She currently works on the gender committee in the grassroots Arlen Siu cooperative, where she has been trained in areas including environment, production, gender equality and human rights. Her children have also benefited from scholarships and the distribution of school equipment, which has allowed them to finish secondary school and graduate.
Hopefully, hearing first hand the benefits of buying Fairtrade products over others, has given our young people a greater understanding of the bigger picture of trade and the food industry.
Mr M Robinson