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Grantham Journal column: Make the right choice to help others to help themselves

By Ian Sel

Independent (non-alligned) district councillor Ian Selby.
Independent (non-alligned) district councillor Ian Selby.

Chocolate, now that’s a word to catch your attention straight away. Would you like to know how to enjoy chocolate and help others in the process? Then please read on.

In 2009 I participated in a charity motorbike rally in India raising money for the children’s charity UNICEF. Whilst riding a motorbike through impoverished regions of India I witnessed hundreds of school children who greeted us on our route. What remains firmly entrenched in my memory is the biggest smile you ever did see on those children’s faces, and the way they were immaculately dressed for school. It was amazing to see. Yet those people have very few luxuries, especially the absence of washing machines. I saw women washing clothes in the river.

In the western world we have a plethora of material wealth and there are many things, even many simple things in life we take for granted. It is not until we lose such things do we then appreciate them and realise how on earth we would managed without them. We have running water, just turn on the tap, we have electricity, just press a switch, we have cars, just jump in and start the motor. This is our way of life.

Now consider yourself for a moment in an impoverished third world country without such luxury.

Yes we have much to be thankful for, but we also waste a lot here in the western world. We throw away a lot of food, especially over the Christmas and Easter period. We are a throw away society.

From 29th February to the 13th March it is Fairtrade fortnight. Simply put in a nutshell, Fairtrade gives farmers in a third world country a fairer price for the products they produce, and a proportion of the money known as a Premium is then invested in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their communities and also their businesses. This includes investment in schools, transport, healthcare and sanitation.

Here in Grantham in recent years we have established a Fairtrade committee under the guidance of SKDC’s Carol Drury and Rev Andy Scholes. Thank you to them and the rest of the Fairtrade committee who have done a wonderful job to have Grantham recognised as a Fairtrade Town.

There are now over 4,500 Fairtrade products available, including chocolate, bananas, tea, coffee, sugar and even gold. Please look out for the Fairtrade logo on the products and help others to be able to help themselves.


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