Kids Say the Most Revolutionary Things

My 9 year old (days away from 10 year old) niece has joined her public speaking club at school and this is her first speech presented to her fellow classmates.


How many of you have eaten chocolate this week?

How many of you have eaten FAIR-TRADE chocolate this week?

Good morning staff, students and visitors, my name is Rachel and I will be talking to you about fair-trade chocolate.  Fair trade involves the equitable treatment of workers. In the chocolate industries this means that the farmers who pick your cocoa beans get paid fairly for their work. You might not know this, but most of the chocolate you eat involves slavery where the workers don't get paid at all. In fact, most of the slaves are children, like you and I but they don't get to go to school. Instead they work all day in the hot, African sun picking beans for their masters just so that we can enjoy cheep chocolate.

One of the biggest companies that uses slaves to produce chocolate is Nestle; makers of Kit Kat, Smarties, Rolo ice-cream and Oreo cookies, just to name a few. By choosing fair trade we are not supporting companies that use slaves.

The concept of fair trade has been in existence for 60 years. You can recognize fair trade products by their distinctive label which first appeared in the 1980s in the Netherlands. In order to put the label on their products, companies must meet certain requirements indicating that the workers are being paid fairly. Some companies that sell fair trade chocolate are Cadbury dairy milk, Cocoa Camino, Verkade, Ben and Jerry's and Ten Thousand Villages. In fact Ten Thousand Villages only sells fair trade products. You can get fair trade items at No frills, Dollarama, A Little Bit of Britain and many other stores. There are more fair trade products then just chocolate. There are also bananas, grapes, coffee, tea, sugar, crafts, clothing and cooking materials. I have bought a lot of fair trade items.

In 2009 I heard about fair trade and what it is. I really like how it helps poor people around the world. Since then I've been only eating fair trade chocolate but it hasn't always been easy. There were some sacrifices I had to make, I couldn't eat whatever I want or what other people were eating and I had to pay more money. Why would I pay more for my chocolate? That's because I'm letting companies know that we need to treat people around the world with respect and I'm helping farmers get paid. Some people some people say the chocolate taste exactly the same but I think it taste even better because I know people are being treating fairly. Buying fair-trade improves the lives of the worlds poorest people. I hope the next time you at chocolate you will consider how it was made and join me in choosing fair trade. Thank you.


I think 8 and 9 year olds are often the smartest ones among us. They have not yet, for the most part, had to compromise their beliefs and are willing, more than many of us, to make a hard choice if they believe it is the right thing to do.  In 2009 this 8 year old gave up eating chocolate unless it was FairTrade certified.  Everyone else having a Drumstick?  Not her.  Everyone else having an Easter Egg hunt?  None for her.  I can't even begin to express what a proud uncle I am.

I can tell you that my niece constructed this speech without much help from me (she just asked me a few questions) and she delivered it with poise, elegance and excellent diction!

Many of us will say that "these are complicated issues". However, I think we often complicate things for our own benefit.  "Most of the slaves are children, like you and I but they don't get to go to school. Instead they work all day in the hot, African sun picking beans for their masters just so that we can enjoy cheep chocolate."  That's the whole thing right there and this 9 year old recognizes that this reality is something that we must do something about.

Maybe kids often get ignored because what they have to say challenges the way we live.  Maybe kids often get ignored because for us to live out the simplicity of certain aspects of justice our lives will get a little too uncomfortable.   Kids don't just say the 'darndest things', they are capable of saying the most revolutionary things and I, for one, want to listen.

© All Rights Reserved.