Monday, March 31, 2014

Easter is coming.....

Haigh's Easter Egg

Easter is coming.... and Easter eggs are part of the seasonal celebration in many parts of the world.

The DIAKONIA World Federation Executive has had a focus on human trafficking. Did you know that there are real concerns about the role of trafficked child labour in the production of cocao beans? According to an investigative report by the BBC, hundreds of thousands of children are being purchased from their parents or outright stolen and then shipped to Ivory Coast, where they are enslaved on cocoa farms. Destitute parents in these poverty-stricken lands sell their children to traffickers believing that they will find honest work in Ivory Coast and send some of their earnings home. The terrible reality is that these children, 11-to-16-years-old but sometimes younger, are forced to do hard manual labor 80 to 100 hours a week. They are paid nothing, receive no education, are under fed, and are often viciously beaten if they try to escape. Most will never see their families again.
The most effective way to find ethically sourced chocolate is to look for a short supply chain. "Bean to bar" producers who own the entire production chain all the way back to the beans and "Direct Trade" producers whose chocolate comes from single, identifiable origins are ideal. Many companies today who proudly list extensive information on the cacao farms they work with on their labels. There are also several certifications on chocolate labels to indicate a slavery-free supply chain. These include Fair Trade, Equal Exchange, Fairtrade, and Rainforest Alliance (which has an added environmental component -- perfect since the chocolate industry is also guilty of devastating rainforests for plantations and production) (Source: from this article in Huffington Post)

Purchasing ethically sourced chocolate as gifts for family and friends is a great way to discuss important issue around human trafficking and modern day slavery.

(Haigh’s Chocolate in Adelaide (where I live!) have just announced they are the first Australian-owned bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer to achieve international UTZ certification for ethically and sustainably farmed cocoa beans, which includes a zero-tolerance policy towards trafficked child labour. UTZ certification puts Haigh’s at the forefront of a sustainable production program that spans cocoa-growing countries from Ghana in West Africa to Peru in South America. Congratulations and thank you to Haigh’s for achieving UTZ certification and for making their Easter Eggs slavery-free).

You may be interested in the 'Dark Side of Chocolate' documentary - free to download on Youtube

New Director appointed for Frontier Services (Uniting Church in Australia)

Rev (Deacon) Scott Kelly
Rev Scott Kelly (Deacon) has taken over the reins as National Director of Frontier Services, He has wide experience in engaging with government at senior levels and leading innovative justice programs. Prior to becoming a Deacon in the Uniting Church, he worked as a geologist in the oil and gas industry in a number of remote locations, including Papua New Guinea. Congratulations on your appointment, Scott.

There are many Deacons in the Uniting Church in Australia who serve as padres in Frontier Services and we pray for them and the people with whom they are in ministry. 

Frontier Services works in remote parts of Australia - the great 'outback'. Their vision is:
In the remote areas of Australia –
Reconciliation will become reality
Hope will replace anxiety and despair
Justice and equity will build community
Everyone will have access to the services they need
As we journey together.