Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts (Episode 4)

The last episode of this series is a bit of an anti-climax.

Basically all six young people decided to be more cautious as to where their clothes come from.

The person who stood out this time was Stacey, she with the inimitable smile and indefatigable spirit and an ever-ready 'Namaste!'. She went about looking for child labourers and at the end of the show we found her returning to the factory where a boy labourer was to be sent home. She was indignant when she found another young child there.

The team also visited a rescue shelter for boys rescued from child labouring. (Whatever happened to the girl child labourers?) There they hit upon the brilliant idea of repainting the walls. The children added their favourite pictures and everyone seemed happy.

Stacey then managed to procure pictures drawn by these children and auctioned them off at a private function she organized.

Meanwhile Tara went off in search of an organization that promotes fair trade and which shares out its profit amongst its workers. When she tried to get them to sew a design inspired by her days in the cotton fields however, she found that their sewing skills were not up to the standard required to produce such garments.

I have high hopes that when Tara (and her mum) sets about designing their next collection that they would consider using more of such workers from such cooperatives. Where these workers lack in skills, effort must be made to train them to do better.

So a positive result all round. These young people relate better with their own parents. Amrita sells her designer clothes to give the money to a worthy cause and Richard talks about the need for clothes labels to give 'health warnings', etc.

But the most troublesome question was: what would happen to these child labourers or even those adults in sweat-shops if we decided to stop buying what they produce?

If within a day we (everyone of us) were to double or treble what we normally pay for an item of clothing and say, make sure the primary producers get a fair share of this, would we be able to rid us of their sweatshops?

On the other hand, is it going to get better if we stood still and did nothing?

Back to Organic-Ally.

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