The word "fair trade" started coming to my mind after living for a year in England and getting in touch with fair trade. I started to ask - what can I do to help in this imbalance, inequality we see in the world?”
Albert Debono, is the owner of Sayit Malta. Sayit Malta is a shop which sells fair trade products in Malta including food, gifts, cleaning products and home decor. It is a social enterprise project.
Full of energy, innovation & motivation, Albert has embarked on this developing project to address both the needs of the local reality, as well as the global world, by sending funds from these local projects to build schools in developing countries.
Charity and Justice
“As I grew older I started to realise that charity is not the only way how to help poor people. Helping people is really helping them come out of poverty." says Albert. "After living for a year in England and getting in touch with fair trade. I started to ask - what can I do to help in this imbalance, inequality we see in the world?”
With his background in youthwork, Albert motivated his friends who had a background in volunteering to start this social enterprise. Besides this fair trade shop in the small town of Paola, Malta, it also includes the YOUTHEME foundation. This foundation trains non-academic achievers mostly local young people to learn and work in the printing sector.
It was not an easy start. “You have to live in a reality of business, the reality to survive. This has not been so simple and plain sailing especially in the first years. Money is always a straight jacket, waiting for creditors to pay, food nearing expiry date… but I also remind myself of the social element. It’s a dance I enjoy dancing!”, he says smiling.
Through this fair trade shop Albert also involved himself in small fair trade projects. One such project is selling fair trade jewellery in Malta and England which has been produced by women in Kenya. In the coming months they will start selling Malawi rice, a project in collaboration with the University of Malta Chaplaincy, where generated profits will contribute to the education of children in developing countries. In fact, the foundation has already started to support the building of schools in Rwanda and Benin in Africa.
What is fair trade? Why choose fair trade?
According to the World Fair Trade Organisation, fair trade gives better wages and working conditions to marginalised produces and workers. It also fosters transparency in international trade. “Fair trade gives better products and puts dignity, where dignity is missing." Albert says.
Indeed, when we buy a t-shirt for the price of a sandwich, who is really benefitting from the deal? What were the workers in the factory paid? Albert believes that it is not about how much we buy and consume, or how many things we have, but rather the quality and the process. "It’s not how much money we have but how we choose to spend that money. That’s what gives value to money.”
We can make a difference with our lifestyle
Albert believes that people can make a difference with their lifestyle: “The road towards social justice is made up of very small choices which we do in our daily life. It does not exclude the big deeds but in reality the small choices on a daily basis can change the world.” he says.
Albert has accomplished many, yet another dream which he has is to retire a few years earlier from work, "to be able to visit the schools we have supported to be built through our fair trade shop.”
SayIt Malta are gearing up for the fair trade film festival in Santa Luċija, Malta between the 20th-22nd July, and the 90kg rice challenge at the University Of Malta Chaplaincy on April 21st where profits sold from selling Malawi rice (packed at EU standards) will contribute to the education of a child in a developing country. For further information or to learn more about fair trade call SayIt Malta on 27131060 or send an email on [email protected]
Updated: March 2018
Published: June 2016