Guest blog: Creating a better world with Fairtrade and Rainbow Turtle

Josh Brown is Education Officer with Rainbow Turtle, a trading company and charity established in 2002 to promote Fairtrade in Renfrewshire

"One of the best things about my job as Rainbow Turtle’s Education Officer is getting to meet local people who are passionate about creating a better world.

"What makes it even better is when we’re able to welcome others from around the world and bring the two together.

"In October this year, we teamed-up with London-based organisation Trading Visions, Paisley Fairtrade stalwarts Redss Catering, The Diane Mitchell Gospel Choir, Create Paisley and a packed hall of locals to welcome two teenagers from Ghana; Esther and Samuel. Their parents are cocoa farmers for Kuapa Kokoo, the co-operative that co-own Divine Chocolate; one of, if not the, best known (and tastiest!) Fairtrade chocolates.

"They told us how the lives of the people in their community had changed since having a secure, stable income; which is what fair and ethical trading seeks to offer as an alternative to the often-exploitative practices that riddle much of global trade.

"Esther explained that her school had been built as a direct result of trading through Kuapa Kokoo, meaning children have access to education and the opportunities to move their lives forward in more positive directions.

"Kwabena Addo from Kuapa Kokoo, who travelled with the pair, said he’d felt heartened and connected to the community of supporters they met in Paisley, who piped them in and taught them Scottish dancing.

"For me it was a perfect example of how bringing people together to share culture and experiences is an incredibly powerful way of inspiring change; the more we understand each other, the quicker we see the similarities and can learn to be inspired and encouraged by the differences.

"Much of the work our charity does focuses on raising awareness of how unfair trade works for the few, rather than the many, and that as consumers, we can support the many by choosing carefully how and where we spend our money.

"The future for us here and for our friends in Ghana, Malawi, Guatemala and all over the world is connected more now than ever. We have the opportunity to influence that for the better every day and Paisley’s 2021 bid gives us a chance to highlight the real value of culture and coming together."

You can find out more about Esther and Samuel's visit on the Rainbow Turtle website and you can follow Rainbow Turtle on Twitter @RainbowTurtleUK.

The Rainbow Turtle shop is located at 7b Gauze Street, Paisley PA1 1EP