Trade Aid turns 25 with cake and a celebration
A special milestone has been celebrated by a local charity.
Trade Aid Rotorua Trust chairwoman Paddi Hodgkiss says the actual date of Trade Aid’s 25th birthday was September 27, which was celebrated by having a stall at the Thursday night market.
However, the formal celebration was held at the store earlier this month.
She says this was a celebration including the past and present volunteers, trust members, loyal customers and Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick.
Speeches were given by Paddi, the manager Meaghan Kelly, the longest-serving volunteer Heather Doelman and Steve Chadwick.
Paddi says 25 years is a milestone for any business.
“The continued profitability of any Trade Aid store is a highlight for Trade Aid New Zealand as a charitable movement, and doubly so for Trade Aid Rotorua, still in the retail business after 25 years when so many other shops have come and gone.
“It was also impressive that Meaghan Kelly has been shop manager for 20 years and longserving volunteer Heather Doelman has been with the shop for 23 years.”
She says Enid Brinkler has also been with Trade Aid for 24 years.
Trade Aid is a New Zealandbased not-for-profit organisation promoting fair trade.
She says fair trade has the greatest potential to lift the world’s poor out of poverty.
Trade Aid buys craft and organic food products from more than 70 trading partners, representing hundreds of thousands of small farmers and artisans in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
Everything in a Trade Aid shop can be traced back to its producer partner, she says.
“In a time when international free trade agreements seem to be buzz words, and often synonymous with exploitation, fair trade organisations including Trade Aid are quietly working away at the other end of the continuum promoting fair price, ethical trading principles, no child labour, no gender discrimination, support of the disabled and environmental responsibility.”
Paddi says without its volunteers, Trade Aid could not exist.
She says a highlight for the Trade Aid Rotorua Trust was getting a message from Trade Aid chief executive Geoff Walker that, from the efforts of the volunteers over the 25 years, about $1 million has made its way back to producer partners — giving them security to plan for a sustainable future and a way out of poverty.
“A continued highlight for all of us volunteering at Trade Aid must be the knowledge that our small, individual actions are empowering the disadvantaged — those people who need it most, by giving them dignity, a livelihood, self-sufficiency and a future.”
Trade Aid Rotorua’s long-serving volunteer Heather Doelman cutting the birthday cake.