Sonia’s Smile will become a Christian Aid pop-up shop next week 14th -18th May. The stock will be moved out and the walls painted, corners swept, windows polished and then for a few days the local Churches Together group will be taking up residence to raise money for Christian Aid week.
Christian Aid was one of the founder members of the Fairtrade Foundation along with CAFOD, Traidcraft, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, World Development Movement and Oxfam so a fitting use of the space. This covers the 1940’s w/e when the village is inundated by thousands of visitors celebrating the war years and the military so it’s a crucial reminder for peace and love, and help, for those Countries today torn apart by conflict.
This year is the first time that the International Fair Trade Towns Conference has been held outside Europe. This is a photo of Shoko in Oslo inviting us all to Kumamoto, the first Fairtrade Town in Japan. Shoko is chair of their steering group and she treated everyone to a taste of Japanese culture with a traditional dance following this presentation.
One reason for taking the conference there was to support all the work that is being done in Asia. I will miss being there but next year it comes back to the UK where Bristol will be the host.
My lovely friend Sabeena who has the only fair trade shop in the United Arab Emirates is an incredibly passionate supporter of everything fair trade related and especially where it comes to helping women. One of her current challenges is the campaign raising money for Labour Behind the Label.
Sabeena travels and meets the people from whom she purchases, hearing firsthand their stories, she understands their difficulties, needs and aspirations. I never fail to admire the dedication she has to raising awareness and changing lives for the better.
This year, with everyone on the Fairtrade group involved in ‘other big things’, we opted for a charity dinner suggested by Jonny at Haworth Old Hall.
Our guests were Bruce and Jane Crowther and we had great entertainment from Reubik, a local 3 piece who never fail to get the audience joining in and John Drury who sang songs he has written specifically about Fair Trade.
We had the compulsory Fairtrade quiz and as the theme this year was bananas we had a tattooing competition. A brilliant and effective way to get people involved which we shall definitely use again. Prizes of wine and the bananas were donated by Oakworth co-op who are always very supportive, thank you.
The aim of the evening was to raise money to twin the pub toilets.
We have white poppies available at Sonia’s Smile, they are from the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) They are a symbol of peace, remembering everyone who has ever suffered and are still suffering, through the futility of war.
John Lennon was absolutely right.
The best thing for me at Halloween is creating a pumpkin masterpiece. These are this years effort, The wolf for my shop window and the owl for next doors. This was the moment I lit them at home after a Sunday afternoon carving. The soup wasn’t bad either.
I was approached last year by the Ecology Building Society to ask if I would be the subject of a case study for their website and newsletter.
This I agreed to and after a few delays due to weather and Christmas intervening we eventually arranged a date for the photographer to come to the shop with Tori from Ecology and the article was completed.
Yesterday I had the email that it was on line and I took a look. I was happy with the results and although I do get into the press for various Fair Trade reasons I usually shy away from personal publicity but this was being read by members with my own philosophy and ethics so I wasn’t particularly worried. A mere 3 hours later though, I discovered a piece of the article, AND the photo, in the local Keighley News! It had gone viral (well a bit)
I remember agreeing to the material being shared if they were approached but I suppose I hadn’t thought this through sufficiently and actually the result was something I wouldn’t have chosen to do. Done it is though and I hope I am not judged unfairly. The original article is about striving to be ethical in our choices.
By the way, my wealth comes not from investments, or material things but from the fortunate position I am in living in a country where we have rain to nourish the trees and soil, education and freedom . I have clean water and can sleep without fear, knowing that I have food for tomorrow. This, is being rich.
We are members of the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and the first Bafts week starts on Monday. Bafts is the recognised authority for UK Fair Trade shops and is part of the WFTO Europe and Global system overseeing producers, importers and retailers. If you want to see if there is a shop near you, go to www.bafts.org.uk
Bafts week is an idea that came out of the last AGM for the shops and suppliers to concentrate promoting Bafts to consumers. Nothing big has been planned for Sonia’s Smile but we will be having a ‘deal of the day’ and if you call in you may get a free taster of Divine chocolate or incense, call in and see, we’d be delighted to welcome you.
I will be kicking off the week by joining the board and other members at The FIG Tree in Garstang where we will be having a talk by Abiyot of Oromo coffee company and Ian from the Lorna Young Foundation.