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UofG student recognized for Fair Trade Solidarity work

Monday, February 2, 2009

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Written by Bill Barrett

University of Guelph Masters student Randalin Ellery is one of two Canadians being recognized for her commitment to international development by the Ontario Council for International Co-operation (OCIC).

Ms. Ellery spent last summer in Peru meeting with Andean indigenous women from a unique coffee project "Cafe Femenino". She learned about the project while working at Guelph's Planet Bean Coffee. "The project has enabled these women, whose lives have been previously filled with sexual abuse, isolation, poverty and violence, to prosper and become trailblazers in fair trade. They have collectively turned their lives around through the marketing and sales of their own fair trade organic coffee," says Ellery.

The Cafe Femenino project is just one of many fair trade initiatives Ellery has successfully championed both on the University of Guelph Campus and in the community.

OCIC has created the Global Voices: Profiles of Leaders in Development to celebrate International Development Week. Two people were chosen from Ontario and three from the Global South. "Through Randalin's story we understand that we have the individual and collective power to support safe and sustainable livelihoods for individuals, families and communities here in Canada and internationally," commented Kimberly Gibbons, OCIC Co-ordinator. Ms. Ellery was nominated for the award by Oxfam Canada. OCIC is a coalition of organizations working globally for social justice, the Global Voices awards are supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

"I know Randalin got a few bruises bouncing through the Andes, but her passion for fair trade, I'm sure, heals all wounds", said Planet Bean's Bill Barrett. "She is a fair trade rock'n roller par excellence, and she is providing us with the kind of information we need to know that projects like Cafe Femenino are working on the ground."

"Randalin inspired us as a young leader that is taking initiative to bring about lasting institutional change at the University of Guelph, she understands the impact this can have on communities - particularly women - in Peru and other parts of the world," concluded Gibbons.

Ms. Ellery's profile will be officially released on Friday (see attached)

(Photos from her trip to Peru are also available by request from Ms. Ellery)

Contacts:

Randalin Ellery: <<a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]> 1-519-803-0484

Hasnat Ahsan, Oxfam: <<a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]>

Kimberly Gibbons, OCIC: <<a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]> 1-416-972-6303

Bill Barrett, Planet Bean Coffee: <<a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]> 1-519-837-3242

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