Pamela, 45 is a garment worker from Craft Aid Mauritius.
1. When did you first find out about Fairtrade?
In 2013. I had been made redundant from my job in the Mauritius tourist industry, and a friend told me about a Fairtrade-licensed textiles factory that offered work to people like myself from economically challenged backgrounds. Having spent a life in sweatshop factory conditions in Mauritius, I was reluctant to return to the industry. But on going for interview I saw that the workers worked in decent conditions, for example with face masks to protect them from harmful dust, and that the workforce looked happy in their work, something that I had never found in sweatshop factories. I realised that I was entering a different and more humane working environment, but I didn't realise that I was now also part of an inspiring fair trading movement that was literally saving lives...
2. Why do you think Fairtrade is important?
Before the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Group and Koolskools brought me to Scotland in 2015, my first ever visit abroad, I had not really paid too much attention to the Fairtrade label that we sew on the garments at the factory in Mauritius. Then in my first few days in Scotland I started noticing many Fairtrade labels on many products and I realised that this is a massive global movement geared to helping farmers and people like myself. I think it is really good that consumers in rich countries have a fairly simple labelling system when they shop whereby, if they choose to, they can help people much less fortunate than themselves.
3. What are you doing for Fairtrade Fortnight?
Well, it seems that last year's Fairtrade Fortnight tour was so successful in spreading the word about Fairtrade cotton school uniforms that Koolskools have decided to invite me back for another speaking tour, this time of Scotland, England and Wales. I am very pleased to be back! This visit is more of a marketing tour, and I am told that this could be the first time ever that a factory worker such as myself has actually helped a developing country factory's international client - in this case Koolskools - to market their project and their products. So, you see how Fairtrade can change people's lives, and traditional trading and marketing methods??!! Thanks to Scotland for being a Fair Trade Nation!