Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Invasion of the Fairtrade Tea Ladies

Dozens of tea ladies dressed in organic Fairtrade cotton aprons and headscarves invaded central London to highlight the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign to swap Britain’s tea to Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight (22 February – 7 March).

The dancing tea ladies, a brigade of people made up of supporters, dancers and Fairtrade licensees plus a Fairtrade tea producer from India, made their way from London Bridge to Trafalgar Square, with a stop-off at the Houses of Parliament via Number 10 Downing Street where they met Sarah Brown.

The tea ladies were wearing Fairtrade organic cotton aprons and headscarves specially made by the Bishopston Trading Company, which has its headquarters in Bristol plus a shop on Gloucester Road.

The photocall with Bishopton outfits was a fun way to flag up a more serious message behind the campaign which aims to tackle the poverty facing more than 14 million people in the developing world who rely on tea for a living but who are suffering from unfair trade conditions.

Bishopston boss Carolyn Whitwell said: ‘We were delighted to supply the special aprons and headscarves to the Fairtrade Foundation to help take our message to London that Fairtrade cotton is beautiful and practical. This year, we are celebrating 25 years of business in Bristol and the West Country and seeing our aprons in Downing Street marks a really exciting start to the year for us.’

The aprons and headscarves were made in the village of K.V.Kuppam in Tamil Nadu, southern India, which has a unique link with Bishopston. All profits which are not used to grow the business in the UK are invested in the factory at K.V.Kuppam.

Fairtrade Fortnight is the annual nationwide campaign to promote awareness of Fairtrade and encourage people to buy products which carry the FAIRTRADE Mark. Fairtrade Fortnight unites Fairtrade supporters, bringing together retailers, manufacturers, producers and consumers.

This year, the Fairtrade Foundation is calling on tea-loving Brits to swap their favourite cuppa to Fairtrade for Fairtrade Fortnight and will be totting up these and other Fairtrade product swaps on a special online swap-o-meter. The Fairtrade Foundation is hoping to get people in Britain to make one million and one swaps over the two-week period and change the lives of millions of farmers in developing countries.

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