Amazing lesson from a 14-year-old student in Bahrain
British School of Bahrain student Rhea Gosain has got something important to tell you
Time Out Bahrain staff
A Year 9 class at a local school is working on a project to promote fair trade products so British School of Bahrain student Rhea Gosain pens a letter asking you and the island’s businesses to think about it too.
All across the world fair trade products are becoming more and more commonplace but, unfortunately, in Bahrain we have far fewer options. As The British School of Bahrain transitions into an eco-friendly school, their Year 9 class has embarked upon a project that aims to reach out to companies on the island and raise awareness of what fair trade actually means. As part of this campaign, Time Out was contacted by 14-year-old student Rhea Gosain. Touched by her clear passion for the cause, and in an effort to allow their message to reach even more businesses across Bahrain, we asked her to write an open letter. Here’s what she has to say…
Dear Management, Hope you are well. Your company provides an exceptional service to people in Bahrain and also to people from around the globe. We at the British School of Bahrain are trying to encourage companies in Bahrain to stock fair trade products. The Fairtrade Organisation aims to provide small farmers and workers with fair pay. Not only will your companies stocking fair trade encourage people to buy these products but it will also help smaller workforces obtain the pay they deserve.
I understand why it may be difficult to stock fair trade items. It is more expensive but isn’t that better than letting farmers and poorer families starve? Not to mention that in the long run, the extra 100 fils can be the difference between life and death for poorer families.
Many simple changes can be made and I, for one, believe that they are not only possible but will make an enormous difference. Firstly, give customers the choice for fair trade. Sell regular sugar but also have fair trade sugar as an option for customers. Normal sugar is 600 fils per 500 grams and fair trade sugar is 900 fils per 500 grams – these price comparisons have been taken from Alosra Supermarket, which is one of the few places in Bahrain which provides fair trade as an option.
You are probably wondering why you should even consider using fair trade products... Well, fair trade ensures that small farmers in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC’s) are being paid a fair price for what they are producing and the amount of effort they are putting in. This will help these countries develop and drive a lot of countries out of poverty. About 35 million children will die of preventable and curable diseases between 2015 and 2028. Money collected by the Fairtrade Organisation provides these children with medical treatment so we can reduce the number of child deaths. Also, the prices do not go up or down, so the farmers can calculate for the future. Your supplying fair trade products can save peoples’ lives and get them necessities like water, food, education and medical treatment.
As poverty decreases, development will increase then your company will have the opportunity to set up stores and hotels in these newly developed countries.
Hotels using fair trade will create an amazing image for the company and Bahrain because people from around the world will know about this movement in Bahrain. Eventually, they will realise that if Bahrain can stock fair trade then so can other companies around the world.
The people of Bahrain are not being given the choice to use these items at home because they aren’t being sold in many places. According to a survey conducted by the students of the British School of Bahrain, very few restaurants also used fair trade items.
I am requesting you to switch some products, if not all, to fair trade items. It will help LEDC’s develop and will encourage people to use fair trade items as well. We also want to raise awareness so I request that you ‘like’ our Facebook Page – ‘BSB Fairtrade Bahrain’. For further information please do not hesitate to message us on our Facebook page.
Thank you for your cooperation and time,
Rhea Gosain, British School of Bahrain
A message from the Head of Senior School
‘I am very pleased and heartened to endorse this wonderful initiative by our students, as our school embarks on its journey to becoming an eco-school. I know that fair trade benefits many people. From farmers in producer countries to our students in Bahrain studying the economic and social environment, the concept and practice of fair trade connects people in new and powerful ways as we can see from this initiative.
‘When you buy fair trade products you can guarantee that the farmers who have worked hard to grow them get a minimum price. Fair trade is a way of giving regular support to those less fortunate than ourselves and our students’ support of this is highly commendable.’ - Mr Khalil Ahmed, Head of Senior School at The British School of Bahrain