Roma (NEV), 17th November – Translated by Fiona Kendall – Mediterranean Hope’s Etika oranges are back. In recent weeks, FCEI’s migrant and refugee program has restarted its work in the Plain of Gioia Tauro, where staff are working with various organisations to uphold the rights of seasonal labourers.
The “Light On Rosarno” project has enabled lights to be installed in ghettos and tent cities in which labourers are living, and high visibiity jackets and bike lights to be distributed, all to prevent road accidents in which the victims are often labourers travelling dark and dangerous roads to get to the fields.
“Out of the Darkness” (a collaboration with the Jungi Mundo e SOS Rosarno cooperatives) provides for the distribution of recycled jackets into which high-visibility reflective strips have been sewn to labourers.
Also with the support of SOS Rosarno, social accommodation has been established for highly vulnerable labourers in the municipality of Palmi (Reggio Calabria). A project in the course of developement – which we expect to launch in the coming months – is the “Social Hostel”, intended to be ethical accommodation which both hosts seasonal workers during the citrus fruit season and, during the summer, supports environmental volunteers and ethical tourism.
Mediterranean Hope is also working with Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU), in tent cities and the most vulnerable areas in the Plain of Gioia Tauro.
“Many of these projects have been made possible thanks to income from the “Etika” project,” explains Marta Bernardini, coordinator of Mediterranean Hope, FCEI’s Refugee and Migrant Programme, “Etika being the brand of a fair-trade supply chain which succeeded last year in buying around 60,000kg of oranges produced by cooperative Mani e Terra, which is linked with SOS Rosarno. The buyer network,” continues Bernardini, involves many Italian and German Protestant churches, and this year we shall also expand to churches in Scotland and, if possible, in other countries. For producers who are trying to combine respect for the environment with corporate social responsibility and respect for workers’ rights, these purchases are extremely important because they enable us to compete against markets which continually lower prices.”
This year, through the Etika brand, in agreement with partner cooperatives, Mediterranean Hope “would like to strengthen its action in that region by inviting those who buy oranges to pay a price which includes an additional “social quota” of 10%. Thus, through the purchase of ethical products, you can support the social projects which we have presented to you. At the same time we would send a message to the entire citrus fruit economy by demonstrating that it is possible to construct a mechanism which, as our Constitution provides, calls for corporate social responsibility which guarantees dignity and workers’ rights.”
In the coming days, local churches and communities will receive all the information needed to order and receive oranges.
For donations to support the project, please use the following bank details:
Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy
For further information, please contact those coordinating the Etika project at firstname.lastname@example.org.