What Are The Human Impacts of Making Shoes?


Who made my shoes? What can I find out about them?


Part I: Research!
1. During this activity, you will come across the words “sweatshop” and “Fair Trade” or “fairtrade.” Their meanings can be a bit complicated! With your class, collaborate to write a definition and an example of these terms. 2. Now, research a shoe company that is falling behind the times in terms of sweatshop use in their production chains. Nike is one suggestion, but you can choose any company you would like. This is one reason why we suggest researching Nike: “Some people ask, 'Why do you just focus on Nike in Indonesia? Don't other companies use sweatshops? Doesn't this happen in other countries?' Yes, other companies use sweatshops and yes, it happens in other countries. But we focus on one company, in one country. Nike has 43 factories and more than 160,000 workers in Indonesia alone and a budget of $80,000 a year to organize those workers and fight against the public relations lies of the $20 billion dollar Nike empire. Clearly, we have our hands full. But you can be sure, when we win in Indonesia—and we will win—we will get after Nike's factories in China, then Vietnam, then India and beyond. When we are finished, we will have transformed one of the largest, most powerful companies in history.” -Mission Statement, Educating for Justice. 3. Don't worry – not all companies make these mistakes! Let's find out about ones that are trying to do the right thing. Research a shoe company that is taking steps to change the way shoes are made, and to change the way people think about human rights and shoe production. Part II: Write!
1. Based on what you have learned, write a letter to a shoe production company —either a letter of protest (to a company who could do better), or a letter of appreciation (to a company who's trying to change their ways or is innovative in the field). 2. If you did the Create-A-Shoe assignment, include a photo of the shoes you made with the letter, and explain your project. Shoe companies should know that people like you are thinking about these issues, and trying out solutions for yourself! Good for you!

Learning Objectives

1. Investigate human rights abuses in sweatshop factories. 2. Assess how a shoe should be made in consideration of human rights (i.e. fair trade) 3. Evaluate information discovered and translate into action to spark change.

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