Volunteer Spotlight: Joanne O’Brien, Fairtrade Carlow

The Fairtrade movement in Carlow has been one that first found its roots back in 2004 with Carlow becoming a recognised Fair Trade Town in 2007. Actively creating awareness around the benefits of supporting Fairtrade and how the people of Carlow can play their part, many may be familiar with the Fairtrade logo that appears on various products on shop shelves. But Fairtrade in Carlow wouldn’t exist without volunteers. One such volunteer is Joanne O’Brien who has been involved in Fairtrade Carlow since 2010. 

“I volunteered in Kenya in 2009, in Mombasa and I saw first-hand the difficulties people face in these third world countries”. Joanne says that Fairtrade was such a great way to help people in developing countries without the need to leave the country.  “Good volunteer movements strengthen communities and bring people together” according to Joanne. When asked why she volunteers, Joanne shared that there is a feel good factor for the effort she makes. “There are people out there not as fortunate and even if it’s just 1 or 2 hours a week, it can make such a huge difference to another person’s standard of life.” Joanne also feels that the ability to interact with the public and seeing people’s enthusiasm and support for Fairtrade really gives her a boost and the motivation to continue to do her bit.

Bernadette Power is Volunteer Coordinator at Fairtrade Carlow and she can't speak highly enough of the volunteers. “It is completely volunteer-driven, with support from the head office as well as other voluntary groups”. Volunteers in Carlow mostly get involved with writing content to build awareness, while also actively campaigning and raising awareness through school talks and meetings with various local organisations. Bernadette also explains that they are always looking for new volunteers who have new ideas and an enthusiasm for helping others. Bernadette assures that there is a great support network and volunteers can even attend a supporter’s conference which gives them an opportunity to meet other volunteers from around the country and share ideas. To get involved in this or any type of volunteering, contact your local Volunteer Centre.

Posted in BLOG