A hand up not a handout – how your cuppa can fight poverty

We have been trialling the sale of Traidcraft  tea, coffee, chocolate and other foods after the Wednesday communion service. Here’s why Fairtrade is important.

One in seven people in the world go to bed hungry. This often because, although they are working very hard they are not getting the income they deserve. Fairtrade seeks to combat these issues:

  • Many farmers don’t receive a fair price for the produce. Middlemen take an unfair cut.
  • Many workers don’t receive fair wages
  • Poor health and safety standards
  • Children work illegally

Traidcraft believe in a hand up, not a handout. They ensure that workers and producers get paid fairly and that they will have a voice in their local communities. There are strict regulations about child labour, health and safety and the environment. For example, harmful pesticides are not used.

Here is the story of one woman helped by the people who bought Traidcraft Tea.

Purity’s story Tea and church are two important factors in the lives of Purity Muthoni and her husband, William Mathenge.

Tea from their 6,000 bushes goes to the Ndima Tea Factory, on the slopes of Mount Kenya, and is used in several of Traidcraft’s tea blends.

But when she is not working on the farm or in her home, Purity is a leading figure in the Mothers’ Union in Mathia Anglican Church, and in the parish.

“I am chair of the Mothers’ Union in the church. Every Friday evening we meet, with prayers and worshipping,” she says.

“Because of Fairtrade now our lives have improved. We are hoping for more and more improvements because of Fairtrade.”

The couple also grow coffee, and a variety of vegetables. It puts food on their own table and the surplus can be sold in the local market.

Purity and William are keen to show the improvements they are making to their home, which they say are as a direct result of being able to sell their tea on Fairtrade terms.

“I am hoping to build a new house,” William says. “We are building the toilets and bathroom. I want to build a stone house. Because of Fairtrade we are going to build. It is good because Fairtrade is good to us. Without it, we cannot build anything.”

Pointing to their present home, he explains: “Before, we could not afford to build and the children were in school at that time, so the money was very little. But we are hoping now to build. We have got hope.”

And Purity adds: “We are well-fed because of our tea. We are having a good diet. We get money from the tea to educate our children.”

How can you help?

  • Buy Traidcraft products when they are sold on a Wednesday – they are good quality products. Try and see.
  • Let me know if you would like to order products to collect on a Sunday.
  • Perhaps you could help sell the products over Sunday coffee – they are delivered and collected from church.

Rev Sue


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