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Fair Trade Pioneers - Christina Longden, The Lorna Young Foundation

Fair Trade Pioneers - Christina Longden, The Lorna Young Foundation

Fair Trade Pioneers

Christina Longden, The Lorna Young Foundation

INTRODUCTION

I would like to introduce you to another leading fairtrade pioneer and champion of the fairtrade movement of the United Kingdom, Ms Christina Longden.

 

Christina Longden with her beautiful daughter Ruby modelling fairtrade gifts with The Little Fair Trade Shop

Christina with her beautiful daughter Ruby

Christina is a humanitarian, an accomplished author and Director (Fundraising/Information) at The Lorna Young Foundation.

Christina Longden, Ian Agnew and Abiyot Sherifaw modelling fairtrade gifts with The Little Fair Trade Shop

It was my privilege to meet with the bubbly and beautiful Christina Longden, Director of Fundraising and Information, Ian Agnew, Director of Operations and Programmes and spokesman for The Oromo Coffee Company Mr. Abiyot Sherifaw in Ashton under Lyne during May 2013.
The Lorna Young Foundation Brand Logo and Strapline

 

Christina has a background in community based project development and management.

She has worked as a consultant in social housing, the voluntary sector and has provided training services to the charity sector at Whitehall.

She has also spent many years working with marginalised communities in Southern Africa where she compiled and edited two oral books and conducted fund raising for rights and development programmes.

Christina is an integral part of my support network in the United Kingdom.

Sabeena Ahmed and Christina Longden, Ashton Under Lyne, UK

I am privileged to know her as a dear friend, supporter and leading fairtrade campaigner.

Young Ethical Pioneers Hayden and Henna at The Lorna Young Foundation, United Kingdom
Young Ethical Pioneers Hayden and Henna

 

 

The Lorna Young Foundation

The Lorna Young Foundation (LYF) is an inspirational organisation and charity located Huddersfield, United Kingdom.

It was established with funding from Café Direct in memory of pioneer and fair trade campaigner Lorna Young, 2003. 

Lorna shared the belief that producers in developing countries can lift themselves out of poverty – 'they just need help to gain better commercial knowledge and access to markets.'

The Lorna Young Foundation was established in 2003 in memory of the late Lorna Young, a pioneer of fair trade in the United Kingdom.

Women cocoa farmers claim rights, despite escalating violence in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Cocoa farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Lorna Young Foundation shares Lorna’s belief that producers in developing countries can lift themselves out of poverty – they just need help to gain better commercial knowledge and access to markets.

WATCH: CHRISTINA LONGDEN TALK ABOUT THE LORNA YOUNG FOUNDATION

 

 

Being Fair in Ramadhan

The khutbah (sermon) below was written by the Imam of the Altrincham Muslim Association, Altrincham, United Kingdom and was addressed to the congregation during Ramadhan 2013.

I am grateful to the Imam who wrote a khutbah about fair trade, credited my work in Dubai and talked about The Lorna Young Foundation.

To be ''Fair'' in Ramadhan

NOTE THIS SECTION IS FROM THE IMAM/ WORSHIP LEADER

We praise and thank Allah(swt) for giving us the opportunity to witness another Ramadan.

In this newsletter, and in the spirit of Ramadan, we will try to shed a slightly different light on the concept of giving and of charity.

Zakat is one of the fundamental foundations of our beautiful religion but helping others out of their predicament is not just about giving in charity and in Zakat.

As the old Chinese proverb says;

'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'

This concept is not new to Islam and has already been endorsed by our beloved Prophet(saaws) when he helped a poor man by getting him to invest in an axe and work collecting wood for a living.

This man worked his way out of poverty. But an important part of this story from the Seerah that does not readily come across is the fact that the Sahabah bought the wood at a fair price.

The concept of Fair trade and for Muslims to ‘Do More than just Zakat’ are therefore fundamentals of our Islam.'

 

Sabeena Ahmed's Fair Trade Mission

In a recent article {http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/sabeena-ahmeds-fair-trade-mission} we read about sister Sabeena Ahmed's fair trade mission.

She says: "I was studying long distance with the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance, London, while living in Saudi Arabia. During my last assignment, I came across a paragraph about how Islam promotes the equal distribution of wealth, and realised I had to do something."

What followed next was months of research into the World Fair Trade Organisation, to which she applied for associate membership. Last year, she founded The Little Fair Trade Shop after moving to Dubai.

"Fair trade is about helping the low-income person get a better start. Why can't I, as a human being, help people regardless of who they are, or where they come from, so they can support their family with a decent wage?"

 

The Lorna Young Foundation


Two years ago, our amazing mosque and community working with the Lorna Young Foundation championed a local social enterprise ‘the Oromo Coffee Company’ established by Muslim and Christian Oromo Ethiopian refugees who have suffered from horrendous persecution and who settled in Manchester.

However, our involvement did not materialise into further activities and our community has not embraced the concept of “Fair Trading” on a larger scale.

The Lorna Young Foundation (LYF) is a little northern-based ‘fairer and ethical trading’ charity that works to help desperately poor producers in developing countries to get a fair price for their work and for their produce.

Their research has found that Muslim communities in the UK do not have an instinctive affinity with Ethical Trading Businesses which is at odds with Islam. 

The Holy Quran speaks in such amazing volume and detail about Fair Business practices! More so than so many other issues!

We all like to buy cheap things of course – to get a bargain – but Allah teaches us to think far beyond this!
 
Colleagues and volunteers at the Lorna Young Foundation come from very different backgrounds and faith groups – and yet all involved believe in going beyond charity.

They work together to create innovative projects that focus on help-ups, not on ‘handouts’.

They do this through supporting poor producers in developing countries to get more value from what they grow; but also through working with marginalised communities in the UK, helping them through to build skills and income through ethical trade and enterprise.
 
The Lorna Young Foundation is a trade justice charity – based in west Yorkshire but operating ‘at home and abroad’.

Our friends try to explain some of the gross inequalities in the current trading system (especially in commodities) and to provide real and long-lasting solutions to global poverty through promoting ethical (equitable) enterprise.

Below are some examples of their work and some suggestions for Zakat this Ramadan.

 

The Oromo Coffee Company


Altrincham mosque was the first organisation to hold an Oromo Coffee Company (OCC) event.

The Oromo Coffee Company was set up by the LYF to provide Muslim and Christian Oromo refugees with opportunities to get work and training, to generate income and to restore a sense of pride.

The LYF works closely with Ethiopian smallholder coffee farmers and we supported the Oromos to set up their own community-owned fair trade coffee company.

The Oromos live across Greater Manchester and very much need friendly faces and groups to buy their extremely high quality coffee.

 

Not Just A Trading Company


Inspired by the OCC, the LYF began to work with young people from west Yorkshire – youth from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, who would not normally ‘mix’ with each other; who may not be the highest academic achievers but who had a great drive and sense of enterprise.

Our LYF friends helped them to set up their own ethical enterprise groups and their first big organised “UK’s first Fair Trade Eid party” which attracted over 150 members of the local Muslim community!

Working with the youth enterprises, they sourced their own fairly traded rice tea, coffee and chocolate and this led to setting up their own social enterprise – ‘Not Just A Trading Company.’

They have now gone on to work with a wide range of groups in communities and schools/colleges – young people, older people, unemployed people and refugees.

 

Farmer Extension Project

 

Poor farmers overseas are often at the mercy of middlemen who take much of the profit within the supply chain.

The LYF uses a simple, very cost effective and extremely empowering tool to provide the farmers with the information that they need to engage in the supply chain in a more equitable way.

Their ‘Radio Extension project’ was piloted with coffee smallholders in Kenya; they broadcast a live weekly radio programme in Kenya which now has over 4m listeners.

Every week poor farmers text in questions about coffee farming, which are then answered the following week by a panel of experts.

The results have been astonishing - a 50% rise in coffee crop yield, and 30,000 new disease resistant trees planted; more women started joining co-operatives too - in fact they made up half of all new applicants.

 

 

Support Fair Trade During Ramadhan

 

As the we all embark on a new Ramadhan please do think about some of these ideas in order to help people both at home and overseas through ‘trade and not aid’:
 
• Setting up your own ‘Not Just An Ethical Enterprise’ group at a community group/School/College etc.(and in doing so, also raising money for your own cause or group through the sale of the products?) www.notjustawebsite.org.uk


• Donating to the Farmer Extension project. www.farmerextension.org

• Purchasing your home/business/group coffee, tea, rice or chocolate through ‘Not Just a Trading Company’.  www.notjustanonlineshop.org.uk

• Buying OCC coffee or supporting the refugees in a Coffee Morning www.lyf.org.uk/projects; www.oromocoffee.org

 

(N.B -The OCC project sadly ended 2016).

Brothers and sisters, our community has been, and has always been, very generous.

We now need to think “beyond giving” and beyond being generous in the traditional sense of charity.

We now need to think as well of “help ups” and not only “hand outs”.

This change will inevitably mean that some of what we buy will be more expensive.

Ramadan is an excellent opportunity for us to think “Fair” and to buy “Fair”.

But this will only happen if we as Muslim families embrace the concept of being charitable in the way we buy.

After all, the concept of fair trade lies at the heart of Islam. 
 

Further Reading and Links

The Lorna Young Foundation

Business Profile: Christina Longden

Not Just A Trading Company

Farmer-Radio

Altrincham Muslim Association




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