Education Through Fair Trade

Fair Trade helps kids in Ethiopia stay in school

08/26/2011 - 5:08 PM

In farming communities across the globe Fair Trade fosters a deep appreciation for and commitment to education. With the additional income earned through Fair Trade, many farming communities have built new schools, purchased buses, and given scholarships for students to go on to high school and college.  In Ethiopia, for example, Fair Trade provides life-changing opportunities for thousands of children from coffee-growing families.

Many Ethiopian children who live in the country’s coffee-growing regions face serious obstacles to staying healthy and getting an education. Drinking water is usually collected from standing lakes and ponds full of parasites and waste that cause malaria and other diseases. Health care services are neither available nor affordable. Schools are scarce and many children have to walk two hours or more to get to class, leading them to drop out of school.

In places like Ethiopia, Fair Trade becomes a lifeline. In the past decade coffee farmers across the African nation joined the Fair Trade network and took steps to fight poverty and improve their lives. With the help of nonprofit organizations like Fair Trade USA, family farmers organized themselves into cooperatives to sell their coffee on Fair Trade terms.

"Fair Trade has definitely helped our community. It has helped us improve our school and water supplies. It has also made a big difference in the guaranteed price we get for our coffee." - Workineh Heldaja,  Member of Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union

Earning more money for their goods and working in safe conditions helps groups like Oromia transform their villages and communities. Oromia and its farmer members constructed more than 15 schools and over 42 additional classrooms. Now, children are staying in school, and even adults are returning to complete their education. The cooperative also used Fair Trade earnings to build and staff four health clinics, and dug wells to access clean water–-Oromia now has around 56 clean water supply stations.

Fair Trade USA is committed to helping cooperatives like Oromia succeed. Our staff provides training and other support services to coffee farmers worldwide and we would love to have you join us. Tax deductible contributions to Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, fund our work with farmers throughout the global Fair Trade network. Click here to find out more.

08/26/2011 - 5:08 PM
08/26/2011 - 5:08 PM