A Salvo over human rights
IF YOU'RE a fan of good chocolate and interested in human rights, the Salvation Army Church at Goonellabah is the place to be for lunch on Sunday.
Nerida Elsley-Auld is the organiser of the World's Largest Chocolate Fondue Party in the Northern Rivers area and is keen to raise awareness about the desirability of buying Fairtrade chocolate to avoid exploiting child workers.
“Nearly half the world's chocolate is made from cocoa grown on the Ivory Coast in west Africa. It is estimated that over 200,000 children working under the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry are in that area alone,” she said.
“Every day around 12,000 trafficked children are forced to work these cocoa plantations, receiving nothing more than abuse for their long hours of hard labour.”
She said it was upsetting that the multinationals such as Cadbury and Nestle knew about this injustice but chose to avoid the unsettling reality of child exploitation and trafficking.
“This Sunday's lunch is a great way to show you care and enjoy delicious fondue dippers such as strawberries and marshmallows with like-minded people.”
Mrs Elsley-Auld and her family have spent years in South Africa and Mozambique as Salvation Army missionaries.
“We wanted to take part in this global event - The World's Largest Chocolate Fondue Party - so that people understand the horrors behind the cocoa industry, and also understand that by buying Fairtrade chocolate they are helping communities, not exploiting them,” she said.
Fairtrade chocolate is grown in Ghana on a co-operative basis with profits going back into the community in the form of wells and educating children.
By selling to the Fairtrade market, the 45,000 members of the co-operative receive higher, stable prices for their cocoa, which ensures that they can afford to support themselves and their families.
“Some Fairtrade products such as chocolate are now available in supermarkets,” Mrs Elsley-Auld said.
“It's just one small way people can make a difference to third world communities.”
The Fairtrade label is an independent consumer label which appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.
For a product to display the Fairtrade label it must meet international standards set by the certification body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International.
Fairtrade products include coffee, tea, chocolate, cotton, sugar, rice and quinoa.
Mrs Elsley-Auld is hoping to have 50 people at the fondue lunch, but says she has plenty more Fairtrade chocolate on hand if more people turn up.
The party will be held at the Salvation Army Church in Cambridge Drive. It costs $5.