Last week, members of the Wildlife Works’ eco factory Fair Trade Committee had the pleasure of making a trip to two local schools within our project area. As part of the eco factory’s Fair Trade USA certification, each of our Fair Trade USA certified clients contribute a ‘premium’. This is around 5-10% of the overall production cost which is paid directly to our factory workers.
Students at Itinyi Primary School holding up their new school uniforms
Our Fair Trade Committee then decides how this money is spent. This time, they allocated a portion of their premium to the community for worthy causes. (Read here stories about how our employees have been using their Fair Trade money for projects such as education for their children and home improvement.) In instances where money is given to the community, education is a top priority.
Itinyi and Marasi primary schools are two local schools that were targeted by the Fair Trade Committee as particularly at risk and in need of assistance. Between the two schools, the committee donated over 100 school uniforms to vulnerable children ages 6-14.
The head master and Alfred, the head of the free trade committee, distribute school uniforms at Itinyi Primary School
The Fair Trade Committee visited both schools to hand over the uniforms and meet the children. During their visit, each member of the Fair Trade Committee spoke directly to the students and their parents about how they were able to donate these items.
Through explaining about Wildlife Works, including how the eco factory is responsible for job creation and describing the importance of fair trade production, the committee showed these families the benefits of community organization and mobilization.
By protecting the environment and community through making clothes within a fair trade framework, the committee now has the resources to donate these uniforms where the school would otherwise have gone without.
In instances like these, due to local customs, it is important to assure the families that these uniforms were given strictly as gifts and that nothing was expected in return.
Alfred and the rest of the committee distribute uniforms at Marasi primary school.
Both school visits were tremendously happy occasions. It was wonderful to see the excitement on the students’ faces when they received their new school uniforms. For many of them, it had been a long time since they received a new uniform and nearly every student had some kind of rip or tear in their clothes.
Wildlife Works strives constantly to work within the community to build strong and active families that can become vehicles for change. By bringing together the parents and students when donating these uniforms, the Wildlife Works Fair Trade Committee further promoted the idea that education should be valued and that parents must be a part of the process of enabling each child to reach their full potential.
Students at Mirasi primary school try on their new school uniforms.
It is these weekly community events, which often go undocumented and without discussion, that make Wildlife Works a strong social driver here in the Kasigau Corridor. Within a community that has decided to place environmental conservation at the forefront of their lives and careers, we see repercussions that run deep within the community. How wonderful to witness everyone benefiting, even the students at Itinyi and Marasi primary schools. Huge congratulations and thanks to our Fair Trade USA certified customers (such as Threads 4 Thought!) for committing to fair trade and our employees for delivering such a great and necessary donation!
Parents were present at both schools to witness the donation of the uniforms and share in the excitement with their kids