OAKLAND, CA, (April 28, 2010) - Global Exchange and TransFair USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States, unite to offer an eye-opening international travel experience in Nicaragua this July. The nine-day Reality Tour includes the opportunity to live and work with family farmers on a Fair Trade Certified™ coffee farm and to visit non-Fair Trade farms to show first-hand the social, economic and environmental benefits of Fair Trade.
Fair Trade is a market-based alternative form of global trade that aims to alleviate poverty. It promises fair prices, safe working conditions, worker empowerment, market access and community investment. Through Fair Trade, U.S. consumers now have more power than ever before to support this sustainability initiative through their everyday purchase decisions—more than 6,000 Fair Trade Certified products are available in every aisle of the grocery store and span fresh produce to spices, wine, flowers and cosmetics.
During the Reality Tour in Nicaragua, travelers will visit the Fair Trade Certified coffee cooperative CECOCAFEN. As part of the Fair Trade system, CECOCAFEN has benefited from the additional income it has earned from the guaranteed Fair Trade price. They have also invested their Fair Trade premiums, or community development funds provided through the Fair Trade system, to build a school, fund 300 scholarships and buy school supplies, offer micro-loans for women, build a solar processing plant, provide environmental training for members including crop diversification and transition to organic production, improve roads, build a health center, and finance health services such as eyeglasses.
According to CECOCAFEN member Blanca Rosa Molina: "When I was young, I didn't have the opportunity to study, and for that reason I give thanks to Fair Trade because it has enabled me to pay for my studies as an adult. I now have an undergraduate degree in sustainable agriculture. I am educating my children as I would have liked to have been educated at their age."
More than 20 years ago, the idea that travel can be educational, fun, and positively influence international affairs motivated
Global Exchange to launch its first Reality Tours. Today the tours provide individuals the opportunity to deeply understand pressing global issues such as poverty, to gain a new vantage point from which to view and affect U.S. foreign policy, and to link with activists and organizations from around the globe who are working toward positive change, including TransFair USA and the global Fair Trade movement. Global Exchange Reality Tours organizes trips to over 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East and include many of the countries that produce Fair Trade Certified chocolate, coffee and olive oil.
All Global Exchange Reality Tours are coordinated by locals working in the host communities. The tours are directed by qualified trip facilitators and typically include two meals per day, double room accommodations, translation of all programs, reading and preparatory materials, all transportation within the country, program and entrance fees.
For more information about the Global Exchange Fair Trade Reality Tours to Nicaragua, Dominican Republic or Palestine to witness the benefits of Fair Trade firsthand, visit www.globalexchange.org/tours/ or contact Malia Everette, Director of Reality Tours at
800-497-1994 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Global Exchange  is a membership-based international human rights organization based in San Francisco, Global Exchange is dedicated to our common goal of promoting social, economic, and environmental justice around the world. Visit www.globalexchange.org  for more information.
TransFair USA , a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. TransFair USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. TransFair USA educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farmers with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit www.transfairusa.org  for more information.