Maria López holds up some of the coffee cherries she picked in her day’s work on La Revancha Coffee Estate, a fair trade farm in Nicaragua. “I have worked 10 years here,” she says. “With fair trade, we get a [fair]price from our work. We are being trained to do our work better.”
With World Fair Trade Day coming up on May 10, it’s a fitting time to celebrate all the good that fair trade can do—and has done—for workers like Maria around the world. Fair trade means fair wages, safe working conditions, equal employment opportunities and environmentally sustainable practices. However, La Revancha is still one of only a few fair trade certified coffee estates in Latin America.
As Catholics, the Gospel calls us to respect the dignity of workers. Catholic Relief Services offers an ethical purchasing program that helps people, parishes and schools coordinate fair trade sales in their own communities at a 20 percent discount. You can also shop for coffee, chocolate and artisan gifts online at equalexchange.coop/crs or serrv.org/crs. With every purchase, CRS’ partners donate a percentage of the sale price to the CRS Fair Trade Fund.
Recently, CRS and its partners provided $24,900 to support renovations for six olivewood workshops in the Holy Land. As a result, 225 people now work in properly ventilated, safe environments where they handcraft nativities and crosses. To read more about fair trade or to learn how you can get involved, visit crsfairtrade.org.
Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services