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Schools Meet to Discuss Fairtrade

To celebrate being a Fairtrade city, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council invited guest speaker Blas Arismendis Marcelino Guzman, an active member of the Banelino Association in the Dominican Republic, to talk to local students about the importance of Fairtrade in improving the lives of the farmers, their families and communities.

Blas was welcomed by Alderman William Leathem, Chairman of the Council’s Development Committee and Chairman of the Council’s Fairtrade Steering Group.

Speaking at the event, Alderman Leathem said: “The Council is keen to promote the fact that Lisburn Castlereagh is a Fairtrade city, and we were delighted to welcome Fairtrade producer Blas to our council area.  Through inviting local students we are able to play our part in educating the younger generation in the significance of Fairtrade and how from Northern Ireland we can help support Fairtrade farmers across the world.

“Schoolchildren from Forthill Integrated College, Dundonald High, Wallace High, Killowen Primary and Largymore Primary heard first-hand about Blas’s passion for agriculture and how he took over the family land from his grandfather to grow bananas.  Blas also spoke about how the first banana cooperative, Banelino Association was formed in the Dominican Republic.”

Blas Arismendis Marcelino Guzman commented: “My family is motivated to work the land as a united family that cares about each other’s wellbeing.  I am proud to be an active member of the Banelino Association, as all its members share the values and principles of striving for justice, solidarity, union, loyalty and respect for humans and the environment.  It is like my second family, a strong union of committed persons united for a better tomorrow. I am proud to be a farmer and support my family and others to build decent livelihoods.”

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council actively supports Fairtrade values where possible.  Fairtrade farmers are sociably responsible and by purchasing Fairtrade products we enable them to undertake vital business, environmental and social projects in their own communities.

Alderman Leathem added: “We need everyone in the Lisburn Castlereagh community to get behind the farmers and their families, not just during this fortnight but all year round. Our Fairtrade Steering Group are working to ensure that Fairtrade status for the city continues to develop and gain support.  If you want to get involved please contact us by email to sophie.dowie@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk ”