Poverty and disempowerment as reasons for terror

I’ve lived and worked in various countries in South America, Africa and Europe and have become acutely aware of conditions caused by social-economic inequality.  I have also experienced the self-pride that exists in people with disadvantaged backgrounds in the poorest countries that I have visited.

One thing is very clear to me: in general, people do not want to rely on charity. They need to be given fair opportunities to grow through their own efforts.  This is the reason why I’ve become so passionate about Fairtrade.  It ensures that farmers and growers of produce bearing the Fairtrade mark a FAIRLY paid for their work so that they can build their communities, live healthier lives, have better education and, at the same time, be encouraged to produce environmentally sustainable food, which is good for all of us.

We live in a dual world where the might of multinational corporations and commercial priorities rule.  At the same time, there are movements and organisations which seek to give the power back to people, which campaign for the right for a peaceful, fulfilling life. At a time when the ‘developed’ world talks about war, there are organisations such as Oxfam, Christian Aid, CAFOD, World Development Movement, Fairtrade and many others whose principles and ethics have the potential to change human condition in the whole world.

I believe that, on the whole, human beings who are contented with their lives, who have enough work and are fairly paid for it, who can provide education for their children and shelter for their families, have no interest in killing their neighbours.

To change this balance, I believe that all that it’s needed is to make people aware of the issues and choices; to make them aware of how powerful they are to make changes (and to believe in it) and help them realise how much they are personally and individually responsible for human welfare across the globe.

“Once we become aware of the issues, we have to chose between either personally sponsoring poverty, child labour and ill-health or to personally support empowerment of producers and farmers of all nations by paying a FAIR price for their work. We have to make a choice.”

Paulo Quadros – leader of Strathaven Fairtrade Group (Scotland’s First Fairtrade Town) 2003

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