Students' Fairtrade promotion
A Ghanian banana grower told St. Mary's students about the positive work Fairtrade does in her community, during an eye-opening, informative day at the school.
Juliet Arku-Mensah, from the VREL banana co-op in Ghana. was accompanied by Fiona Saluk and Ciara Holland from Fairtrade Ireland for the talk. The event was attended by the school's active Fairtrade committee, all second year students, representatives from the Students' Council, principal John Michael Porter, staff members and a trad group which provided a taste of Irish culture for the visitors.
The committee members started by explaining how and when they became a Fairtrade school. They emphasised that Fairtrade starts 'here in New Ross' by first supporting local businesses and buying Fairtrade products that can't be produced in Ireland.
Fiona and Ciara then spoke about the importance of Fairtrade and the work carried out by Fairtrade Ireland. Following some traditional Irish music, Juliet addressed the audience about the economic and social benefits Fairtrade brings to her community. She gave details about the co-op where she works and her role within it.
The Co-op produces conventional and organic bananas for Fairtrade and other export markets and employs more than 400 workers. Juliet is employed by the estate as both Fairtrade Officer and Occupational Health & Safety Officer. She oversees the implementation of relevant workplace legislation, such as providing training and protective equipment and for organising health screenings to test workers for diabetes, hepatitis, breast cancer, typhoid, HIV etc. The day concluded with more traditional music and a rendition of 'Falling Slowly'.
New Ross Standard