A Fair Trade Company; in Philosophy and Practices | Al Reef Fair Trade

A Fair Trade Company; in Philosophy and Practices

Al Reef Company has been applying the philosophy and principles of fair trade in order to improve the living conditions and capacities of farmers and their local communities. In the past 4 years Al Reef paid a premium price of “756,346” Israeli shekel, which equals $199,000 to 20 cooperatives working in fair trade; implementing quality development programs and following good governance. The extra revenue that those cooperatives have made through fair trade in the past 4 years is around 2.25 million shekels (around $592,105. This is the difference between the price made by Al Reef and the market price.


Cooperatives have been investing premium money to develop their infrastructure such as warehouses,  agricultural equipment, buildings, human resources, projects to serve the local communities.


Since Al Reef Company is also a social responsible organization, it has granted a scholarship to a girl named “Tanseem Ghaith” who obtained a very high score in high school (99.1). Tasneem is from Beit Eksa village near Jerusalem and her family works in agriculture.


An interview with Tasneem Ghaith, who got a scholarship from Al Reef for Investment and Agriculture Marketing Company to study at Beirzeit University:


·         What was your ambition before joining the university, and what is it now?

Since I was a kid I dreamt about becoming an English teacher and in the future I want to have a PHD and teach in universities. 


·          How did you get the scholarship?

My father got a phone call from Jerusalem governorate and the village council about Al Reef company offer which was a scholarship in Birzeit University. I presented my certificate and papers and I was approved for the scholarship.


·         Did you have other opportunities for scholarships?

I applied for the “president scholarship” before I knew about Al Reef Company's scholaship, but they weren’t going to pay for us the payments we need, and they told us that it will take a while till they make the payments. Then, we heard about Al reef's scholarship which would pay me from the start till the end of my study without any delay.


·         How much does the scholarship cover? (the scholarship)

It covers all the costs.


·         Tell us about the difference between school life and university life?

I enjoyed school a lot but the university experience is totally different and it is bigger here; it makes me feel that I am more mature and responsible.


·         As a woman and a citizen, how important is education for you?

I want to leave a mark in this world especially through my education; which is a weapon to have a successful life for women here, giving all current hard circumstances. For me, education is the most important thing that I own in my life.


My family supported me and helped me as much as they can. As a woman, education is leaving positive marks in my life. It develops my mind and enriches my knowledge as a student now and as a worker soon. I have met other people who left school and I don't want to face the same situation. I don't want to be a heavy burden on my family.


Independence starts with education, and so does the formulation of one’s personality.


As a citizen I wish to reach the point where I can help my community through my future career and education and contribute to positive change.


·         How do you think you can employ your study in the future?

I hope to be able to provide what I learnt for street children who work in selling things, and I would like to employ my education for knowing more about recent discussions on our case as Palestinians. I tried that too at my university while having a lecture about Palestinian cause in the past and these days. Finally I want to make strong and good example for my country.


·         What do you think about the countryside students and their situations, do you think that they need support from national associations?

I think they need support and help. Our life is not easy because of the occupation and even the economic situation doesn’t carry for us a pleasant future. Many students feel they are a burden on their families.


·         What about the educational level in this university, is it what you expected?

It is the best university in Palestine as you know, and I want to have an effective role in it.  


·         What effects did this scholarship have on your life?

This scholarship has helped me a lot. It made it easier for me to go through the path I have chosen. It also made my family’s life easier. Now, I don’t feel I’m a burden on my father especially that studying at Birzeit University is very expensive for my family as it occupy first class among Palestinian universities.