Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Banking on Change

Two-thirds of India’s population of a billion people live in the nation’s 600,000 villages. Despite India’s economic growth, the disparities between wealth and poverty are enormous. Many villagers migrate to the cities in search of work and end up begging on the streets. South Indian bank manager J S Parthiban set out to do something to help their economic circumstances. He encouraged beggars to open bank accounts in New Delhi, and pioneered micro-loans to villagers in his home state of Tamil Nadu. This is his story—and theirs.

Banking On Change (12 min version) from Pilgrim Films on Vimeo.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Start of Summer....

So I thought things would calm down a bit after exams, this didn't happen! 

Since my last post on May 26th I have been relatively busy, Exams finished, lots of celebrations were held, I attended the first meeting with the Campaigner Advisory Group at the Fairtrade Foundation, I attended Beach Break Live with Action Aids campain 'Bollocks to Poverty', I have been busy working with the Basingstoke and Deane Fairtrade Steering Group, I had my last session with My SI and wrote my project proposal for My Social Innovation.

The meeting with the Campaigner Advisory Group was a really informative day, (I arrived at the Fairtrade offices about an hour early because I was so nervous about being late), the offices were brilliant, (we were shown around after the meeting) and the staff were lovely and really welcoming. During the day we covered a lot of ground, and at times I felt like I was out of my depth, but it was encouraging to talk to everyone about their experiences and their journey with Fairtrade. I learnt a lot and it was great to meet everyone in the Group. I am now looking forward to the work that I will do with the group in the future even more. 

Beach Break Live with the Bollocks to Poverty Campaign team, WHAT an experience, we left the sunny Action Aid offices in London and embarked on a long coach journey to Pembrey Country Park in Wales, arriving to pitch our tents JUST as it starts to chuck it down with rain! However it turned out that that would be the last of the rain for the whole week, so it was definitely worth it! A week camping with 17,500 other students ... Sun, Music and Campaigning, right by the beach, activities galore. It was incredible. I met some amazing people, together we signed up over 2000 people to the No More Hunger campaign, taking photos of festival goers dressed as rock stars in front of our specially designed NMH Magazine front covers, holding up a hunger headline. The enthusiasm was incredible, and the BTP tent was popular day and night! A chill out tent with bean bags and giant games of connect four and jenga, which turned into a dance tent in the evening with our own dj sets. The end of the week came around quickly and noone wanted to leave!

Basingstoke and Deane Fairtrade Group are working hard towards their application for Fairtrade Borough status. We are now on Facebook : 

and are also working hard to set up a website!!! keep an eye out!

My 'My Social Innovation Project' now has a name!!! 'Closing the GAP (Globally Aware People)' I have written up the proposal for it, struggling at times, but hopefully it is ok!!! There could also be an opportunity to attend the International Caux Conference with MySI's help, so everything is crossed that this goes ahead and I am able to go! 

That is all from me for now,

My Fair Lady xxx

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Updates (these are becoming monthly! this isn't on purpose, I am just crazy busy at the moment! One more week until summer!)

A couple of weeks ago (13th May 2010) I handed in my Dissertation Proposal, I decided that my working title would be How well does the National Curriculum for Key Stage 3 accommodate the Global Dimension? I spent a long time thinking about how to phrase the question, what age group to look at, whether to focus on Fairtrade/green issues. I decided to use the policy for the Global Dimension because it is recognised by schools as a new important area of the curriculum.

Since my last post I have also been accepted to join the Fairtrade Foundation Campaigner Advisory group. We have our first meeting on the 3rd June 2010, so will blog after that to let you know how it went! I have also been offered a place volunteering for Action Aids Bollocks to Poverty Campaign at Beach Break Live, this is an opportunity that I am extremely excited about. Lets hope some of my applications for other festival volunteering get accepted as well!!! 

Short but Sweet!

A real update after exams next week! :-) 

Sunday, 25 April 2010

An update on my journey...

... I seemed to have neglected my blog a little, so today will try to produce an update on what I am doing. I think there are four main areas that I will talk about :-):
  • Having joined the Fairtrade steering groups in Basingstoke (my home town) and Southampton (my uni town-http://fair-trade-southampton.org.uk/), I am working with both groups to raise awareness of Fairtrade amongst young people. Firstly making contact with the schools, and encouraging them to sign up and register their interest in becoming a Fairtrade school, and then working with the school and the students to help them achieve this goal. I will actively be involved in helping them to increase the education about Fairtrade and other global problems. I am currently working on activity packs which I can take into the schools to provide a fun and educational experience for the students. 
  • I have also joined the Green Action group at the University of Southampton (http://www.soton.ac.uk/~gaction/gaction.php?page=home) I am hoping to volunteer at their event Environmental Rock on the 3rd of May http://www.environmental-rock.org.uk/ I have only attended one meeting so far, but I really think it is something that I would like to get more involved in.
  • Since I last wrote I have also started a training/learning experience with a charity called My Social Innovation http://www.mysi.org.uk/ I am having an amazing time learning new skills and meeting new people. It is every Saturday for 8 weeks in Richmond, but the travelling and time is totally worth it. I will be sure to update about this very soon! It will have its own post!
  • I am also working towards my Dissertation next year! Planning it and writing up my proposal this term. I am still a bit unsure of my exact focus and question but I am hoping by the end of the week I will have a clearer idea. 
My second goal that I have set myself is:

GOAL TWO: Reduce my carbon footprint. I recently came across a campaign called 10:10, by signing up, making a pledge and using the resources that they have given me I am on my way to achieving this goal. With the aim to reduce my carbon footprint by 10% in 2010!!! http://www.1010global.org/uk

I will be sure to create a more detailed update of each point during the week. I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying myself, and I feel like I am learning a lot, and still have A LOT to learn about everything that I am doing.

Watch this space :-)

Thanks for reading

My Fair Lady

Monday, 22 March 2010

Have you ever heard of the idea of 'Paying it forward'...

The idea was formed by Catherine Ryan Hyde in her novel "Pay it Forward" (which was later made into a very moving film).

A simply inspirational idea, instead of paying a favour back to someone when they have done something nice for you, paying the favour forward to someone who is unrelated to the situation. Whilst reading through information about the pay it forward movement I came across a quote by Princess Diana which I feel sums up the idea quite well ...

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

The idea seems to raise a few questions, which I am just going to put forward and answer in case you are thinking them as you read this:

Does this actually work?! : Yes I truly believe it can, if we all believe in it, and we all do this, is there any reason to doubt that it can!?

How will we ever know?! : Perhaps we will never be able to prove it, but if we believe in ourselves and each other, I don't see why it can't work. If we all make a promise to carry out a random act of kindness then of course it can work. I would like to think, and I hope, that this wouldn't just be a one off act, what is the harm in making a conscious effort to do this regularly!? Every day?! Every month?! Every year!?

Perhaps by writing this blog entry, I can spread the word about the idea of Paying it forward?! Perhaps I can persuade YOU to make a difference, starting, like I have on a small scale, something that won't take much effort from you. It doesn't matter how big or small the act is, just do something that you wouldn't necessarily normally do, something that is totally unselfish, something that won't benefit you, something that most likely won't be recognised by anyone except the recipient. Don't tell anyone about it, just live in the knowledge that you did something that has made a positive difference to someone else's life.

Monday, 15 March 2010

The beginning of my journey started in Feb 2010...

...with the decision to make more of an effort to help to make a visible difference in some way by the end of the year. I guess this can be my new years resolution, however I don't want to officially call it that as I fear resolutions have some kind of "curse", I never seem to keep to them. 

At 20 years old I haven't exactly got much to show for what I have done over the years. I feel that although I may have achieved a lot personally, nothing that I have achieved yet has had any visible positive consequence for anyone other than myself. I guess for lots of people this is the same, but I want to change this, I want to make a conscious effort to make a difference where I can. I don't want to be another person to say that I will do this, I want to act on my thoughts and actively do something to help. I have spent a lot of time contemplating how I can do this, I have signed up to a lot of volunteering opportunities, looked at charity trips to Africa etc, never actually carrying out any of the ideas that came up. I decided I should start small, make changes to my life, and the way I live; reducing my carbon footprint, buying ethically etc.. This is basically what triggered the next stage of my journey; Fairtrade. I have known about Fairtrade and the work of the foundation for a while now (we are talking a few years here not just months) yet I have never consistently made an effort to buy everything that I can Fairtrade. I remember doing a bit for Fairtrade fortnight at college over the two years that I was there, however I never did anything that I can say proudly..."I organised this..." or "I helped achieve this...". So I took a step forward, a step towards a goal which I set myself...

GOAL ONE : Raise awareness of Fairtrade and the work of the foundation amongst friends, family, and the communities (at uni and home) that I live in.

I got in touch with a few people who I hoped would help me on my journey. I emailed the Fairtrade steering group for my home town and asked how I could help to raise awareness and help them to gain the Fairtrade status for the Town/Borough. I also emailed the Environment and Ethics officer at my University and asked about what had been organised for Fairtrade Fortnight and how I could get involved. I was overwhelmed by the speedy and informative emails back. I was able to start my journey sooner than I had expected. I got stuck in straight away and made sure that I didn't miss any opportunity to get involved. It was around this time that I was having to think of a topic for my dissertation. I had been through a variety of ideas and had met with my tutor to discuss them, and was thinking about carrying out a study about healthy food and healthy bodies in primary schools, then with all of the developments with my work with Fairtrade I couldn't think of a more appropriate topic to study, than the awareness of Fairtrade amongst young people, and from then on I knew that I was about to make a lot of changes to my life to succeed in achieving my goal. It would be time consuming and tiring but the achievement would be completely worth it. 

My Journey

I am one person and there is only so much that I can do on my own to make the changes that I hope can happen to create equal opportunities for everyone across the globe. I want to share my story and the stories of others to help people understand the small changes that need to be made by US to help others and ourselves. Working together we can collectively help to ensure future generations live in a more equal society

I have decided to start my journey here using this blog, and hopefully along the way, more people will join and follow me on my journey, and be inspired to start their own journey and talk about it.

TOGETHER we CAN make a difference, TOGETHER we count!