Children Learn What They Live

Friday, November 3, 2017

Children learn what they live; this phrase resonates so strongly with me. In a world where our children have so many more material possessions than we as kids ever dreamed possible, I find it very important to teach our children important lessons around the price of a product not necessarily reflecting the true value of a product. This lesson was learnt by Master 5 this Halloween.

"Fun Sucker"......that was the title my very cheeky Master 5 gave me when we were in a shopping centre after I wouldn’t purchase a $5 skeleton t-shirt for Halloween. I had never thought of myself as the sucker of all things fun! Apparently you hit your 40s and it’s all downhill in the fun stakes!!! To give you the complete picture, we were actually there to purchase a Halloween t-shirt and just happened to wander past Best and Less.  As our children get older and understand more about money and the cost of products, they understand that the big $5 sign next to a T-shirt he thinks is cool isn’t a lot to pay, and if we were here to buy a t-shirt, the $5 one should be a good thing. Right? "Mummy it is only $5, that's the cheapest one we have seen " I was told.

This is where I love the Ethical Fashion Report, it grades companies and brands with a very simple to understand  A, B, C, D, F. The grades are a measure of the efforts undertaken by each company to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains. Higher grades are given to companies with labour rights management systems that, if implemented well, should reduce the extent of worker exploitation.  Best and Less receive a C, and need improvement in knowing their suppliers and auditing these suppliers.  Check it out here: https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/2017-ethical-fashion-guide/?

This is all great, but try explaining that to a 5 year old who thinks that forced labour happens when I ask him to take the garbage out. It is here that I try to teach our boys that $5 looks like a great bargain, but you have to understand where the T-shirt has come from and if the people who made it have been paid fairly so they can live a happy life like us. And I explained that this company needs to still make improvements, and until they do we won't shop here. Which he understood pretty well.

 So he followed the “Fun Sucker” around the other side of the Shopping Centre to where Cotton on Kids (graded an A), Target (graded a B-), and Kmart (graded a B) were, so all better options (although still some room to improve) where we purchased an equally as cool t-shirt for only a few dollars more.  I rounded out the story with sometimes it’s better to spend a few dollars more to make sure we know that the person who made the t-shirt is a grown up, and not a child, and someone who has been paid fairly.  

This is what I love about my little store; that all the products have stories behind who has made them, and are fair trade so you know people have been paid fairly in the making of the products. I have some simple children’s things in stock, that in a time when our children receive so much, it is also good to teach our children about where products come from. These will make great stocking fillers for Christmas or as an addition to birthday presents.

Mama and Baby
These gorgeous fairtrade knitted animals are lovingly handmade by women in Zimbabwe! They are called 'Shamwaris' which is the Zimbabwe Shona word for 'friend'. By making these knitted animals, women are given the opportunity to earn an income so they can provide for themselves and their families.  The women love getting together and have a lot of fun! 

Each Shamwari is as unique as the women who made it! Each comes with its own Tag containing its personal name and the name of the lady who knitted it. Take a look here.

 

Enamel Tableware
Created by Lumela Afrika. This job creation project was established in 1995 focusing on the employment of single mothers and men from the local townships of Sharpville, Sebokeng and Orange Farm in South Africa. It was created to try and alleviate the amount of men and women with infants who had no other option but to beg on the side of roads to survive.

Employing 20 full time and 5 part time employees this group is essentially about empowerment and upliftment. Proceeds from the sale of these products go towards supporting children’s homes for abandoned and abused children as well as aids orphans. Take a look here.

Heartfelt Bookmarks
Heartfelt products are created in Makapanstad, South Africa, using traditional handcraft skills, felt and beads. There are now ten women employed by this project and each day they come to work full of pride and hope. Creating each design out of love and strongly believing that they can make a difference - not only to their own lives but to the lives of the community in which they live. Each product sold helps to feed and clothe the ladies and their families. It also gives back to the community by donating a small portion to a local charity to help fight TB, HIV/AIDS and look after children and old aged men and woman within Makapanstad.

Leather Purse
Handmade by an artisan at Artisans Effort, a fair trade Organization in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.There are more than 150 families involved with Artisans Effort. At present, Artisans Effort looks after the education responsibility of nine poor and needy children. Their books, uniforms and school fees are paid for. Artisans Effort proposes that in the future they will open a school for poor and needy children. Check out the range here.

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