Fred is 25, married and has four children. Life is on a knife edge for the family. ‘Mining is like betting. I can work hard every day and not find any gold.’ When there’s no money and the vegetables in his garden are not ready to eat, Fred can go hungry for days.
He prefers not to mine in Uganda’s wet season. When it rains, landslides can kill. He remembers an accident when two people died, buried when the wall of the mine fell in. He worries that it will happen to him too, leaving his wife and children in poverty.
‘I AM RISKING MY LIFE HERE IN THESE MINES.’
He takes the risk because his family needs to eat.
When he finds gold, Fred takes it to a middleman, who melts, weighs and pays for the fruit of his labour. Fred doesn’t think he gets a fair price.
‘THE PRICE OF GOLD GOES UP AND DOWN. NOW THE PRICE IS LOW. THE MIDDLEMEN TELL US WHETHER IT IS HIGH OR LOW. BUT THE MIDDLEMAN MAY LIE OR TELL THE TRUTH. THE MIDDLEMAN WANTS TO GET THE BEST PRICE FOR HIMSELF AND IT’S NOT FAIR. THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY TAKE THE GOLD.’
Fred isn’t a Fairtrade miner. He wishes the mine was safer.
No one should be forced to gamble with their life, and then not even get paid enough to provide for their family. That’s exploitation.
Uganda is home to the first Fairtrade mine in Africa, and offers the men and women who work there a safer and more prosperous future. Miners have had training in business and entrepreneurship, labour rights, better working conditions, health and safety, and more.
Fred deserves the same. Choose Fairtrade.