At first glance, a school becoming Fairtrade accredited might not seem like a huge accomplishment. A few ticked boxes here, a couple of passionate students there, no biggie right? Wrong. To be officially accredited by the Fairtrade Association a number of minimum requirements are to be met, along with a standard that said school is expected to follow to maintain their status.
Yet, despite this, Kimberley College of Carbrook, Queensland, still decided to take up the challenge. Being Fairtrade accredited is more than just a stamp on a piece of paper to acknowledge your ‘success.’ In making this decision to become certified, Kimberley College took a stand against poverty, not only in their small corner of the world, but all over the globe. Their mentality was one of logical and sound thinking; if using ethical products in our school means children in other nations receive the gift of education and have a chance to escape the cycle of poverty, why not do it?
In early 2015, it was decided that becoming Fairtrade accredited was something of utmost importance to Kimberley College and even though it was a large task that could take many months, they would achieve it. The persistence and determination of some very zealous VGenners meant that less than a year later Kimberley College is now officially accredited!
What does this mean? Well, to become Fairtrade accredited a school must commit to using Fairtrade products throughout the school (whether it be food at the tuckshop, coffee in the staffrooms or balls on the sporting field), promoting said products around the campus and hosting at least one Fairtrade focused event each year.
When Kimberley College did this, they did not do it by halves! They have switched many of their tuckshop items to ethical products, are planning a ‘Fairtrade Futsal’ event to promote health and awareness through a popular sport at their school and are hosting their ‘Free to Fly Fair’ on an annual basis to help those in need.
When asked what having her school Fairtrade accredited meant to her, 2015 VGroup leader Tiffany Symons stated that it “meant a lot. It feels amazing to be a part and to have created a community with like-minded people who all believe in the rights of proper care and payment to those worldwide.”
The fact that a school community can achieve so much in such a short timespan makes you think. It is acts like this that change peoples’ perceptions, transform communities and, eventually, can revolutionise the world. So why not follow Kimberley College’s example and make a stand for Fairtrade products in your school today?
– Written by Jacinta Zylstra, VGen QLD Communications Officer