This week was 'Fairtrade' week at my daughters school. The parents donate healthy snacks for the children to sell in a tuck shop. This time everything had to be 'fairtrade'.
Over dinner, we had a discussion about what 'fairtrade' means and how it works. My husband & I explained that, as with most things set up to do good, they usually end up doing more harm and usually too, the only winners are not the people intended to benefit the cause but the company who runs it. This, sadly, is the case with Fairtrade too. My daughter was pretty disbelieving, she is only 7 & still lives, quite rightly, in a world full of good conquering evil & happily ever afters. But she is very curious. And determined. Once a few questions had been raised in her mind, she set off, armed with her iPad to discover the facts for herself.
The next day at school, her teacher started talking about Fairtrade & my daughter put up her hand & bravely exclaimed to the whole class and her teacher exactly why Fairtrade was 'bad' and how it was detrimental to the very farmers it claimed to be helping. She also raised the point of the EU imposed tariffs on non EU farmers selling their produce to EU members.
Her teacher replied "I think your parents have been telling you porkie pies".
You would think that would mute my daughter. It certainly stunned her, but instead of sitting in silence, she bid her time and at break, went to the school iPads & googled again, 'Fairtrade', and politely, but determinedly, presented this to her teacher.
I am so, so proud of the tenacity of my seven year old. To have the courage to stand by her convictions & not be bowed by authority is something most adults could never do. She is seven. Not once was she rude, or disruptive. She kept calm and presented her facts and stood by her principals. But most impressively, she thought. And she questioned. And she failed to accept something on face value. And she refused to be swayed or shamed into silence.
What a truly awesome person. I honestly hope I have just one tenth of her courage.
Next month term her topic is 'Space'. She is already planning her project; 'Why the Moon Landing was Fake'.