Members and suppliers from the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) have raised £31,000 to help Fairtrade goldmining communities in Peru.
The money was raised during an auction at the UK Jewellery Conference, which took place at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham October 3-4.
Speakers from the conference donated their time and products to raise money for the Fairtrade gold mining communities at Sotrami and Macdesa mines in Peru. The majority of the funds raised will go towards buying an ultrasound scanner for the Santa Filomena clinic which serves the community working at the Sotrami mine, while the remaining funds will go towards helping rebuild community facilities around the Macdesa mine and a mercury safety project in Fairtrade mining communities in Africa.
CMJ executive director of business development & marketing, Lucy Reece-Raybould, comments: “I visited these Fairtrade mining communities, high up in the Peruvian desert region, in May, and saw first-hand the medical facilities which the premiums from the sale of Fairtrade gold have helped create in an extremely remote part of the world. When I met the young doctor at the clinic, I asked what she most needed. Her initial reply was running water, but realising we were unlikely to be able to raise the hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve that, she replied that an ultrasound machine would make a massive difference.
“Currently, both pregnant women and the miners who have accidents and possible internal injuries have to be transported to the nearest hospital to be scanned, which is a gruelling cross-country three-hour journey over rugged terrain. The machine costs $25,000 and thanks to the generosity of CMJ members, we can provide this and still have funds to help the people living at the nearby Macdesa mine. This village was devastated by a terrible fire at the end of last year.”
Speaking to the CMJ audience before the auction was Peruvian Fairtrade Gold campaigner Dajhanna Zarate, who is in the UK as part of a wider Fairtrade Gold campaign with the Fairtrade Foundation. She told the audience of retailers and jewellery and watch suppliers how important the Fairtrade initiative is for communities in Peru.
Dajhanna is the daughter of a gold miner and grew up in Sotrami in a household without running water or electricity. But thanks to the work of Fairtrade and the premium from Fairtrade Gold, she was able to have a good education and attend university. “It is only by sales of gold through Fairtrade that more children will be able to escape the poverty trap that exists for so many artisanal mining communities in Peru and elsewhere in the world. We only want what is fair; to be given the opportunity to work our way out of poverty by being given a fair price for the gold that is mined,” she said.
The auction was hosted by journalist and presenter Bill Turnbull. The most successful lot of the event was BBC Antiques Roadshow jewellery expert Joanna Hardy who offered to host an intimate jewellery appraisal and presentation evening for a retailer. Thanks to highly competitive bidding between two retailers, Joanna agreed to host two evenings and raised £11,000.
Other lots were donated by conference speakers Howard Saunders, Henry Patterson and Jon Bradshaw; Brown & Newirth, FACETS PR, Assay Office Birmingham and CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton.
The Fairtrade Foundation’s “I DO” campaign launched in 2015 and aims to generate $1m in Fairtrade Premium for disadvantaged mining communities around the world. Fairtrade brings miners together to formalise what they do, improve working conditions and eliminate child labour, and empowers miners to decide their own futures.