It’s amazing that even though I’m living halfway across the world, South Main still feels like it’s a drive away. SMBC has been and always be my home away from home. I’m a fourth-generation church member and like my entire family, I bleed green and gold. I graduated from Baylor last May with a degree in Social Work. Immediately after graduation I was blessed with the opportunity to teach English in northern Thailand which is where I currently reside. I have spent this year becoming immersed in a wonderful culture, teaching and learning from precious Thai teenagers, and trying to grasp a better understanding of what I want my future to look like.
During this time I have discovered a deep passion in the area of International work and human trafficking which I plan to pursue as a career after graduate school. One living example of human trafficking that has recently received news coverage is that of child slaves working on cocoa plantations in West Africa. This part of Africa, specifically the Ivory Coast produces 70% of the world’s cocoa. UNICEF has estimated that 500,000 children are working in harsh conditions with little to no pay. Most receive no education and have been forcibly taken from their homes and families. Despite harvesting cocoa for up to fifteen hours a day, many have never even tasted chocolate. This is not a new issue. The Harkin-Engel Protocol or “Cocoa Protocol” called for an end to child slavery ten years ago. It is still unclear whether or not the protocol reduced child labor. Major chocolate companies like M&M/Mars, Nestle, Hershey, and Ferrero Rocher have given no proof of the changes they agreed to a decade ago.
As soon as I heard about the issue I knew I had to get involved. Some friends and I created a social movement called “Love Without Chocolate” that is beginning with a focus on the Valentine’s Day holiday. We are asking that people like you join our boycott of non-fair trade chocolate during the days when chocolate companies make a fortune. Americans alone purchase nearly sixty million pounds of chocolate during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Our hope is to raise awareness and get the attention of the chocolate industry that is allowing child slavery to continue.
Awareness is just the beginning step of social justice for these children, but change has to start somewhere. Please help us spread the word. Let’s demand change and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. To learn more about our movement and ways to get involved, please visit our Facebook page “Love Without Chocolate”.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few fair trade chocolate companies include Divine Chocolate and Equal Exchange. Grocery stores like Whole Foods should also carry fair trade chocolate.
Thank you for your consideration to join this cause!