- a review of the lesson
At the start of our 'trading trainers'
lesson we were reminded of the video we watched
of young women and men being exploited in Nike
and Gap factories in Cambodia.
Then Mr. Jenkins gave us all a box, told us we were all families (in our table
groups) that made the trainers and traded them with another group (superior-
rich = Nike & Gap). They exploited the families and kept them poor by buying
the things for little money, and selling objects like paper (leather to make
trainers with) for loads.
Nike & Gap
Nike and Gap were represented by 2 people, but they weren't the only ones making
life hard for the families, one boy came around each table every few minutes
telling us it was a new week and demanding we paid him rent- he was a landlord.
Also, a girl came to the tables offering loans- but surely, you couldn't
pay back loans and would become bankrupt from this action.
My role was a cutter, trader and bidder for the Hernandes Family. The family
was fairly successful.
The problems we faced were the following:
Our pencil was stolen, and in
order to carry on, we had to buy one, that was
We couldn't afford rent one
week and had to owe him at the end.
We only had time to make one
pair, the other pair, well the game was declared
finished a minute before we'd finished it.
This game made me feel annoyed,
but for the wrong reasons, (Nike and Gap) the superior
companies gave money to different people depending
on friendship, not hard work.
One member of our group was too
interested in money to help make trainers. This
game made me feel generally angry and when I thought
of this as real life and 100 times worse, I was
saddened and remembered the poor girls featured
in: 'Gap and Nike - No Sweat'.
This game has helped me understand
what life is like for them- real life, because
we took a small bit of experience - all we have
to do is imagine it much worse - and I can, it's
We could help improve the lives
of workers in poor countries by boycotting the
exploiting companies - (though I doubt this would
work), we could create a charity, make fundraisers
and go to these places, to help, educate and pay
rent for these people. This would help them develop,
someone needs to do it, or this will continue to
become a downwards spiral!
I have not yet visited any fair
trade web sites, but I plan to surf Nike Watch: www.caa.org.au/campaigns/nike/index.html
by Siobhan Desai Year 9
What Did We Do?
Our class was divided into six groups. Each
group was given a country (USA, Ghana, U.K, Germany,
Kenya and India) and a few resources to trade with
(paper, pencils, compasses, set squares, protractors,
rulers, scissors and green stickers). Each country
had a different set of resources to manufacture
paper shapes, which were of value.
My group was assigned India, and
we were unlucky enough to only have two resources,
paper and some green stickers, (which were of no
use to us at the time). We were supposed to trade
our few resources for the ones we needed but none
of the other groups would trade with us. A few
minutes before the end of the lesson we managed
to obtain the resources and manufacture lots of
paper shapes. We also found out that by sticking
the green stickers on our shapes, the value of
the shapes was increased by four times. At the
end of the trading, we sold all our paper shapes
to the ‘bank’ and we earned the most money, closely
followed by the U.S.A. who started off with all
What Did It Mean?
The trading lesson was a way of making us understand
the way trading happens in real life. The more
developed countries (USA, Germany, UK) had technology
(scissors, pencils, compasses, protractors, set
squares and rulers) to make manufactured goods
(exports like chocolate - from cocoa beans, jewellery
- from base metals found in the earth).
The less developed countries (Ghana,
Kenya and India) had primary resources; paper,
green stickers representing primary goods (exports
like cotton, rice and tealeaves) Some less developed
countries also had some technology.
The green stickers represented
valuable exports like oil and precious metals.
What Was It For?
This lesson was a very good way of showing
the way trading happens in real life and it turns
out that trading is a very unfair business based
on luck. However, the lesson was very enjoyable
and there should be more like it.
by Alexandra Bannerman