The Fair Trade Trust is a good PEOPLE story...

On the label of every product Turqle sells, we promise the consumer that we pay 2,5% of the export price to the Fair Trade Trust. The money in the Fair Trade Trust is used for the education of the workers (and their families) who make products for Turqle Trading. Some of Turqle's customers - El Puente in Germany, SERRV in the USA and Ukuva Switzerland also contribute to the trust.

The priorities of the Fair Trade Trust are:

    SCHOOL FEES for the children of the workers
    GROUP TRAINING at the factories


The Fair Trade Trust of South Africa (est 2003) was   created to provide a pool of funds to pay for education projects for the workers and their families.

The money that goes to the trust varies according to turnover and is allocated according to need (rather than as a proportion of contribution to turnover).

The primary objective of the trust is to pay the school fees of the children of the workers at the various factories. While there are a fair number of 'no-fee'/free schools in the Western Cape - it is a sad truth that the level of education the children receive at these schools are not of a very high standard. The funds that are available through the trust enables parents to send their children to schools with a higher standard of education and exposure to extra-carricular activities (sport, cultural - drama, choir, chess, and extra lessons).

After the school fees had been paid, the remaining funds are allocated to group training projects at the factories.

Every second year a 'needs' assessment is done at all the factories. This involves discussions with the Human Resources people and workers representatives.

The types of courses that are requested varies:

    Workplace Skills, such as Warehouse Storage & Distribution; HACCP Awareness, Food Technology for non-food technologists, First Aid, Production and Operations Management and Computer Skills
    Personal Skills like Personal Finance, HIV & AIDS Awareness, Life Skills, Conflict Resolution and Driving Lessons

Occasionally courses have to be placed on the 'wishlist' - they are either outside the budget for the year, an appropriate service provider could not be found or the courses are over-subscribed. It is encouraging that there is a high level of demand - people are eager to up-skill!

Individual Bursaries are available for the workers and their immediate families for post-school, outside of work studies. The scope is broad and in the past have included a production line worker who - over a number of years - completed a qualification in Production Management; several children of workers who, having benefitted from attending better schools, went on to tertiary education.

How does the trust work?

One of the delightful things about the trust (apart from its elegant simplicity), is that the beneficiaries are right there - on the factory floor - visible, tangible and 'provable'.

At the end of every year, Turqle Trading pays 2,5% of the price of every product sold, into the Fair Trade Trust. El Puente in Germany and Ukuva Switzerland match the amount Turqle pays into the Fair Trade Trust.

The Fair Trade Trust is administered by trustees. To make sure the trustees are impartial and make fair decisions, none of the trustees work at the factories where the beneficiaries are working. The trustees are also volunteers - they do not get paid - so all the money that goes into the trust is used for the education projects.

The current trustees are:
    Jacqui Jansen van Rensburg - an independent consultant
    Estelle Engelbrecht - Philani Training and Development Solutions NPC
    Pieter Swart - Turqle Trading

Sarah Withey at Turqle Trading handles the day to day admin of the Trust.

Kids on the way to school at Ruitersvlei

On the way to school...
photo Hester Stafleu

How many people can you reach with 2 hands? Excercise during a conflict resolution workshop.

How many people can you reach with 2 hands?

Training Day: Money Sense Workshop

"Money Sense" workshop

My hands can make difference - Conflict resolution workshop

My hands CAN make a difference...

Why the focus on education?

For almost a decade, South Africa has been experiencing low or no economic growth. There has also been a decline in the rate at which young persons (graduates and school leavers) are absorbed into the economy. This is a classic 'chicken and egg' situation - it could be argued that low growth causes the declining absorbtion of young people into the economy OR if the young people cannot find the 'connections' in the economy, economic growth will decline... BUT most commentators who work in the 'real' world will confirm that there is a tremendous shortage of skills in the economy - and many positions are filled with inappropriately skilled people - and productivity in South Africa is extremely low.

In spite of many job creation and empowerment initiatives and economic stimulation campaigns - some by government; some by private enterprise - the success rate has been low, temporary and superficial. The root cause of this lack of resilience is because the youth (and the greater majority of the unemployed) simply do not have the kind of education that matches the demands of the job market.

Turqle's commitment is to building resilience - not just for ourselves, but for the people who make our products - and the children of the people who make the products - because they are the job creators and economy growers of the future.

Questions about the Fair Trade Trust?

email or or call them on 021-5563918


WFTO Gauranteed Fair Trade logo on the Turqle Trading's web page footer.
Turqle pays 2,5% of the FOB price of every product sold, to the Fair Trade Trust. This money is used for the education of the workers and their children. Some of Turqle's customers also contribute to the Fair Trade Trust.