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Beautiful People

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”  - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The man in this photo is Parbatbhai, seen here with his grandson. We met Parbatbhai on our trip last year to the Organic Fairtrade Cotton Growing District in India. An area that is the first link in the wonderfully unique supply chain that contributes to the production of rrepps cotton Polo Shirts & T-shirts. Our next blog will reveal more of the story on this wonderful man, yet needless to say, he fits Kubler-Ross's insightful observations that define the true meaning of  'Beautiful People'.

Parbatbhai is also a true leader in this part of the world in relation to Fairtrade, and is well respected and trusted in his Community. Without his dedication to the cause, the community he lives in would simply be like many others in developing Countries throughout the world. Marginalised and living in poverty. Fairtrade awareness in Australia is increasing by the day, yet we still lag well behind other Western Nations in our 'will' to walk the talk and believe that we can all make a difference. The fact is, Fairtrade is a bigger picture initiative that can have a major influence in reducing poverty worldwide. It puts kids back into school rather than on production lines, ensures healthier and safer working conditions for adult workers, and combines better pay as well as extra funding for educational and health related initiatives. We've seen all this first hand - so we know it works ! And our workers do not want charity. They just wish to be treated fairly in their workplace, send their kids to school, and be able to support their families. No different to the rest of us.

What's amazing though, is that through a simple shift in our own thinking, we can all become part of the solution rather than part of the problem. So next time your workplace is buying their coffee or tea, look for the distinctive fairtrade mark on the product you are purchasing. They can now be found in all our major supermarket chains, and the quality is exceptional. And for our socially conscious Schools, walking the talk is just a mere phone call away. Even if a small percentage of our schools Nationally and / or their governing bodies or P&C's started purchasing Organic & Fairtrade Cotton Polos as a uniform option for example, or started the process of slowly replenishing their sporting kits with Fairtrade Sports Balls, the positive impact for marginalised communities producing these products overseas, would be astronomical.

The media over the past 12 months have been exposing to us all that big business, especially many of our well known retailers, have been exploitive in their trading practices for many many years now. Especially in relation to the garment and sports ball industries in our country and globally. At the same time we all continue to sit back and wonder what we can do as individuals or larger institutions, to make a more positive impact on our world today, and into the future. Yet there is no need to look any further than the life style choices we make in our everyday lives. Sports Clubs need sports balls. Schools need uniform polos for their students. And nearly everyone drinks tea or coffee or eats chocolate. So it's not about changing what is being purchased, its simply about making that next purchase an ethical one.

Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around. All that is needed now is the WILL. Until next time, thanks for being part of the rrepp consciousness shift.

Posted in words of wisdom on Tuesday 3rd September 2013

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Where There's a Will .....

Welcome to the rrepp monthly blog. The image attached this month is one we recently posted on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/rrepp/407398129306462 and we were amazed at how much it got people thinking. To the extend that it was shared amongst the facebook community and various timelines over 100 times within 24 hours. As well as triggering some very powerful comments thoughout the chain. If you haven't 'LIKED' the rrepp facebook page yet, we would love to see you over there.

Anna Lappe is a respected author, educator and sustainble food advocate. So naturally enough her statement highlighted here was directly aimed at the food industry. Yet it clearly crosses over to all walks of life and business types. Naturally our own focus is on the Sports Ball and Garment Industries. And unless you've been asleep for the past 6 -12 months via recent media coverage, you will know that the ethics applied within these business categories, and many others, continue to be highly questionable. Yet for advocates of Fairtrade, all this is nothing new. Here lays the problem though. The majority of our population continues to believe the multi million dollar advertising and marketting campaigns put out by our larger more well known Retailers & Wholesalers, that a $7.00 t-shirt or a $9.00 mass produced Polo Shirt, is a good thing. In fact something for all of us to be very happy and excited about as consumers, as it saves us a few dollars. Where the reality is that the growers and producers and their families, in the marginalised communities who make these products, are suffering immensely in the sweat shops and poor working conditions they are forced to endure. And as for businesses proudly offering extraordinary levels of credit on their delivered products, it might be worth considering that maybe these same producers, 1000's of miles away, are the ones not getting paid due to your suppliers perceived 'act of generosity' to you as a buyer. So the poverty cycle continues, with our awareness none the wiser. And as the elephant in the room continues to be ignored. Buying Fairtrade certified products is not the only solution, as the issue is highly complex, yet it is certainly a very big step in the right direction, and something within everyones grasp.

Here is the quote from our facebook page. 'We all need to start being part of the solution, and not part of the problem ! Buying cheaply produced goods has absolutely nil higher purpose for alleviating poverty & suffering in our world. In fact it only supports it. Habits die hard we know, but they can die !! First comes awareness, and then comes the will. Pretty much the same as saying first comes the talk, and then comes the walk. We are all good 'talkers', yet it is the latter, the 'Walking', the 'Will', or more simply put, our 'Actions', that will form the basis of a better world being created at some stage in the future. And it needs to start from the grass roots up, which is all of us as individuals and communities. People tend to ignore trail blazers as they are the non conformists on our planet who make us feel uncomfortable. Yet trail blazers, in our view, are clearly what is needed here.

If you'd like to add your thoughts, please feel free to do so via our blog page at  http://www.rrepp.com.au/62/blog

Thanks for being part of the rrepp consciousness shift.

Posted in words of wisdom on Saturday 3rd August 2013

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