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2nd January, 2020

Our Amazing FairAchievers: Skipton Girls High School

The Fairtrade Challenges are where you can really let your creativity shine through. We love hearing about all of the brilliant activities that Fairtrade schools have held all across the UK!

Here is an example of what Skipton Girls’ High School have done to raise awareness of Fairtrade. They really went top banana with their recent FairAchiever Award application: completing two exciting and innovative challenges!

The First Challenge

For their first challenge, Skipton looked to their community for help. Dawn Brailsford is the Fairtrade Coordinator at Skipton Girls and spear-headed the activity. She maintains a strong bond with the local Fairtrade community in Skipton. She got in touch with the driving force behind their Fairtrade Town, Liz Roodhouse.

Liz is a chairperson at Skipton Fairtrade Initiative and works with numerous local schools. She helped Dawn to collaborate with two local Fairtrade Schools: Water Street and Greatwood Primary, who were up for joining in the fun. Skipton student Iona Dickinson cleverly choreographed a fun Fairtrade dance, which was then shared with willing pupils, parents and teachers to learn.

On the big day, the ‘Fairtrade Friends’ at Skipton Girls’ High School joined forces with the other Fairtrade schools to perform their funky Fairtrade flash-mob for the mayor and local town. There were dancing bananas ahoy and even the mayor couldn’t help but join in!

They performed in several spots around town and were available to spread the word on Fairtrade to the interested townsfolk that had gathered to watch. They even managed to pick up a bit of press coverage with their local paper.

Contacting a local Fairtrade community group is a brilliant way to gather support or seek advice from other passionate Fairtrade campaigners. The process is simple – just take a look at our interactive map and zoom in to to find your closest Fairtrade communities.

The Second Challenge

For their second challenge, Skipton Girls’ High School hosted a conference in conjunction with Craven Development Education Centre, inviting over two people involved in the cultivation of Malawian rice to share their story with the pupils of eight Fairtrade Schools.

Fair trade organisation Just Trading Scotland invited over Howard Msukwa and Webster Kito to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their working partnership. Howard is chairperson of KASFA, one of the largest farmers’ associations in Africa, and Webster grows fairly-traded Kilombero rice in Malawi. JTS worked with Liz and Dawn in the important task of bringing all of the schools together.

‘I really enjoyed the visit from the rice farmers because it was a great opportunity for me to learn how they lived and worked in Malawi. It was a very inspiring afternoon and I highly appreciate the time they took out to give us an amazing afternoon. I can now understand how life can be difficult for the farmers living in low-income countries.’
Emaan, Student of Skipton Girls’ High School

The children learned that farmers like Webster grow their rice in difficult conditions. The weather is very hot and the farmers walk barefoot, carrying litres of water to feed thirsty plants. When the rice is then harvested, the farmers have to lift it in 50kg sacks. They also learned that school in Malawi is not free – less than one in three families can afford to send their children to secondary school. If a Malawian farmer sells just 90kg of rice – they would be able to pay for a whole year of secondary education for one child. Organisations can buy 90kg of the rice in 1kg bags to sell them, to support the rice challenge.

The Fairtrade team at Richard Taylor Primary School gave a presentation on their experience with the 90kg rice challenge. The head teacher explained that he kept a stash of the rice in his office. Every time he had a new visitor he would share the story behind the rice and strongly encourage every visitor to buy a bag before leaving!

Skipton Girls’ High School also asked their talented chef, Mr Lorenzo-Cabello to create some recipes using the Malawian rice, so that the Fairtrade groups could taste its quality. They also initiated a rice-art challenge with the remainder of the rice, asking students to craft their own rice murals- brilliantly creative work!

Liz Roodhouse of Skipton Fairtrade Initiative and Craven DEC noted that “With our connections, we are lucky here in Skipton but there’s no reason why other Fairtrade schools can’t develop links like we have. Just reach out!”

A brilliant team effort. A big well done to Skipton Girls’ High School who were central to bringing all of these minds together! 

How can your school get involved?

• Think up fun and interesting ways to spread the word – keep an eye on our Fairtrade Schools news page for more inspiration
• Use our interactive Fairtrade Communities map or Fairtrade Schools directory to reach out to other Fairtrade schools and groups for support, collaboration and speaker requests
• Use your pupils’ interests to guide you and help to think outside the box: the sky really is your limit

Join us on Twitter at  @FairtradeUKEd