Pupils at an Angus primary school were given a first-hand account of how their enterprising Fairtrade community project is helping support coffee growers in Rwanda, thanks to their teacher and a fellow former pupil.
A chance conversation between primary six teacher Julie Christieson and her former classmate Carrie Sweeney, who were both among the first primary ones to start at Carlogie Primary School in Carnoustie in 1976, resulted in a personal visit from the head of a coffee-growing co-operative in the East African Country.
As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, which ends on Sunday, the school’s two primary six classes welcomed Aimable Nshimiye, a coffee producer and managing director of the Sholi coffee co-operative in Rwanda.
The visit was arranged through Colleen Tait of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum in Edinburgh and Carrie, development officer for international development with the Scottish Government.
The Sholi Co-operative was founded in 2008 and has been Fairtrade certified since 2015.
Pupils in Ms Christieson and Danny Tudor’s classes run Fairlogie Café, a successful community enterprise held within Panbride Church Hall on the third Wednesday of each month.
Ms Christieson said: “The café is planned, organised and manned by the children themselves and is a wonderful experience for them to gain valuable skills in running a business.
“They are responsible for everything from ordering the stock and paying the bills to washing the dishes.
“Whilst the children have an excellent understanding of what Fairtrade means and how it is supporting farmers to get a fair price for their goods, meeting a real life coffee producer, being able to ask questions and learning how the coffee gets from bean to cup all adds to their learning experience.”
The pupils spent over an hour with Mr Nshimiye learning how Fairtrade has helped his farm and his family.
Ms Christieson continued: “I noticed Carrie had been to Rwanda through her job so contacted her to ask if she would be interested in coming to talk to the children because of the Fairlogie Café.
“The children are heavily involved with Fairtrade products.
“It was interesting for the children to learn how Mr Nshimiye’s co-operative works and how Fairtrade supports his plantation. It was a great learning experience.”