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Could your church host a Big Brew for Fairtrade Fortnight?

With Fairtrade Fortnight fast approaching, charity Traidcraft Exchange is inviting UK congregations to get together and help transform lives through trade.

Much of the food we eat, and the clothes we wear, are produced by people who simply don’t get a fair deal for their hard work, says Traidcraft Exchange.

Trapped in a system which doesn’t reward them fairly, many farmers, workers and artisans in the Global South cannot afford essentials like food, healthcare, and education – and many live in areas severely affected by climate change.

Fairtrade Fortnight (Mon 24 Feb - Sun 8 Mar 2020) is an annual campaign to transform world trade so it benefits both people and planet. This year, Traidcraft Exchange are inviting churchgoers up and down the country to host a Big Brew coffee morning and raise funds to help vulnerable people like Thabiti (pictured) get a better deal for their hard work.

Thabiti and his wife Rachel grow coffee on his small plot of land in Isanza, Tanzania, to support their seven children and stepchildren. Thabiti has a disability in his legs, which makes it difficult for him to carry out many tasks on his farm, and must pay people to help him with almost every aspect of his coffee production – from picking and pulping to washing and drying.

For one kilogram of his coffee Thabiti only receives about £1. He must wait four months to be paid and has no control over the price, as there is only one coffee buyer who visits the area.

“The price we get is not fair – it does not cover the cost of production,” says Thabiti. “Sometimes we fail to make profit. What they pay isn’t enough because I have seven children and have to pay for school fees and food.”

But thanks to generous donations from the public, many of which have been raised through Big Brews, Thabiti recently joined a Traidcraft Exchange group – and his life has started to change.

Thabiti is now undertaking training in sustainable agriculture and practical business skills such as book-keeping, so that he can nurture his soil and earn a better income. He is receiving support tailored to his disability and has made new friends among the other farmers in the group.

“Being part of the group gives me comfort and really good consolation,” says Thabiti.

Amy Wilson, Head of Fundraising at Traidcraft Exchange, says: “Church groups who hold a Big Brew event this year will be giving vital support to people across Africa and South Asia who deserve a better deal from trade.”

“By giving vulnerable people a chance to improve their incomes, they can finally start to afford the everyday essentials many of us take for granted – like nutritious food, healthcare, and schooling for their children.”

Traidcraft Exchange hopes to raise £80,000 this year to help thousands of people across Africa and South Asia transform their lives through trade.

To find out more about Traidcraft Exchange’s Big Brew and order a free fundraising pack complete with posters, trivia quiz, games and activity ideas, go to www.traidcraftexchange.org/bigbrew

PHOTOS

Main photo: Thabiti harvesting coffee on his farm. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Michael Goima

Above: Thabiti, Rachel, and their children. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Michael Goima

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