Pay Fairtrade Forward Day gets underway

18 May

The concept of “paying it forward” involves doing a good deed for a complete stranger.

But do good deeds extend to buying those strangers coffee?

Well, that’s exactly what one local charity is trying to get Kiwis to do on Wednesday May 18, all in the name of Fairtrade.

It’s a daily ritual for many, but buying a coffee for someone you don’t know and have never met is almost unheard of.

“Pay Fairtrade Forward Day” was started by a charity that is encouraging New Zealanders to help end global poverty, it’s centred around one simple act of kindness.

“All you do is go into the café closest to you that sells fair-trade, buy the first coffee of the day – but not for yourself, for the person behind you,” says foundation founder Divya Dhar.

“Walk out the door and the next person that comes in gets a free coffee. It’s up to them to pay it forward.”

It is hoped the domino effect of customers paying it forward will also generate talk about the Fairtrade movement, which looks to guarantee farmers from poor and disadvantaged nations aren’t underpaid for their produce.

“In doing that act of generosity you’re really helping a huge community somewhere else that you don’t even know about,” says Ms Dhar.

A visiting coffee farmer from one of those communities in Ethiopia, Tadesse Meskela, says profits from Fairtrade go directly towards improving living conditions.

The price of coffee on the global markets is continuing to rise, and Ms Meskela says Fairtrade is a way of making sure growers don’t miss out on the benefits.

The P3 Foundation says more than 1500 coffees were paid forward last year. It hopes to increase that, with cafes in Brazil, South Africa and Italy also taking part.

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