Thursday, January 16, 2014

Round Table Debate: Can Child Labor Be Beneficial for Children

Yesterday, we did a round table debate about child labor, why it is good, and why it is bad. There were five people in each team. The audience wrote down the arguments that debaters were saying. In preparation for the debate we studied by reading articles about the benefits of child labor and we wrote down important arguments and ideas.

                        D.F.R. and A.P. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fair Trade Certified

Even though some people don’t want to join the fight against child labor, that doesn't mean you can’t.The first thing you can do is look on every chocolate bar for a fair trade symbol. They should say “Fair Trade.” You can also look for “Rainforest Alliance.” If it doesn't have one of these stamps, it doesn't mean the company is using child slavery. However, companies that have investigated where their cocoa comes from and have certified that there is definitely no child slavery in their product are labeled "Fair Trade." If you are not sure if your favorite chocolate product is fair trade, go to their website or check the wrapper for one of these symbols.

For example, Fair Trade stamps look like this:

                                                                                                - E.A.C.

Reception at our School

   Two 5B students hung up flyers about child slavery and the boycott at our school with the intention of making other students join the boycott.They went around the school hanging flyers up. Upstairs, downstairs, around the halls were all filled with flyers. We even hung them up in the high school. Later, students from our class found a teacher reading the flyer.The teacher told them she would stop buying non-fair trade chocolate and buy fair trade chocolate.

   Some students dislike this and have decided to tear the flyers down from the walls and throw them in the trash. A student in 6th grade said that she saw kids saying, "I like chocolate, why should I join the boycott?" and throwing them in the trash. Later a 5th grade student saw a crumbled up flyer in the girl's bathroom trashcan.There is a happy ending to the story. The next day, we got 18 students from another 5th grade classroom to sign our protocol.We plan to make the whole school join the boycott.Will you join?  



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hershey Announces That They’re Going to Use Fair Trade Chocolate by 2020

Hershey’s has announced that it is going to certify its chocolate by 2020. First of all, Hershey’s announcement is part of a growing trend in the chocolate industry to go fair trade. Lots of other small companies already have 100% certified fair-trade chocolate. Also, they're doing it because they want to join their rival, Mars, who also announced they will be certifying all their chocolate. Secondly, Raise the Bar, an organization that has been pressuring Hershey’s for years to certify all their chocolate, is pushing Hershey’s to make at least one fair-trade bar by next year. Raise the Bar is also asking Hershey’s how they plan on certifying their chocolate by 2020. Finally, personally I don’t trust that Hershey’s will certify its chocolate by 2020. Hershey’s signed a protocol that they were going to stop using child labor in 2001 and 2008 but they broke both protocols. Also, Hershey’s is only using nine-million dollars to do this which is only 0.03 percent of their 2012 income. In conclusion, although Hershey’s said they're going to certify their chocolate, I have my doubts because they broke both of their previous protocols. However, I hope they are going to use fair trade chocolate.

Here is a link to a news article:

S.O. & G.A.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bake Fair for the Holidays

It’s the holidays, and you want to bake with chocolate! But you’re also boycotting it. What can you do? First, we have found some good information on fair trade chocolate recipes. We have found the recipes on a website called Fair Trade USA, a non-profit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of fair trade products in the USA. They also protect the environment. They make sure that workers stay safe. They give fair wages and they certify for real. Their website contains fair-trade recipes. Some of the recipes are these: Drinkable chocolate, hot fudge sauce, fair-trade streusel coffee cake and double chocolate fudge cookies. They also can help finding places to buy your fair trade chocolate. Lastly, if you support child slavery, then you sir/ma’am have no feelings. If you do buy fair-trade chocolate, then you have feelings. Overall, child slavery still exists in the world out there and we need to do something about it as citizens of the U.S.A. Let’s start with baking fair!

For more information go to

                                                                                              - K.A. & D.T

Recipe for Drinkable Chocolate (courtesy of
·         1 ounce of high quality dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
·         1 cup of milk of choice (I used ½ cup each of water and full fat canned coconut milk), other options: almond milk, homemade coconut milk, or whole milk
·         Toppings: Shaved chocolate and whipped cream
1.       Heat milk until almost simmering.
2.       Take off of the heat and added chopped chocolate. Let sit for three minutes
3.       Put back on the warm burner, and whisk until very smooth and the chocolate is all melted (if it’s not hot enough to your taste, go ahead and turn the burner on low and reheat until it has reached desired temperature).

4.       Top with coconut whipped cream and finely grated chocolate, if desired and enjoy

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"The Dark Side of Chocolate" Review

Have you ever wondered where the chocolate you eat comes from? In "The Dark Side of Chocolate," a film by Miki Mistrati and U. Roberto Romano, it explains how children are forced to work long days with no pay just to pick cocoa. First of all, making the film was very difficult and dangerous. Miki and Roberto had to be careful not to get caught because child slave owners don't want anyone to find out. Also, a man named Andre Kieffer, a French journalist, was kidnapped and most probably assassinated because he was researching about child labor in the Ivory Coast. In addition, the documentary talks about people called traffickers that are payed to kidnap kids. Traffickers trick kids by telling them that they are going to get a better life if they go with them. Also, if the kids the traffickers are taking away try to escape, the traffickers will find a way to still take them. Lastly, the documentary talks about how child slavery is illegal. Slave owners know it is illegal but they still do it anyway. Also, chocolate is a multi-billion dollar industry and government and companies have a lot at stake. Slave owners got suspicious while Miki and Roberto were there so they had to flee. In the film chocolate company executives deny that there is child slavery in the Ivory Coast but in the next scene, the first farm the filmmakers go to has child slaves. I recommend "The Dark Side of Chocolate" because it makes you think how child slaves are treated and makes you think what you can do about it.


Sunday, December 8, 2013


This past week, on December 5th, 2013, our 5th grade classroom signed a declaration to boycott non-fair trade chocolate. After a long and heated discussion, all but one student signed the pact, promising to not support any chocolate company who uses cocoa produced using child slavery (that means you, Hershey's, Nestle, et al.). This was part of a larger Social Studies unit on child slavery.

5B's "Declaration of Independence from Non-Fair Trade Chocolate":

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of an Education. That whenever any Industry becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of Children to boycott and alter its policies. It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Industries, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of child slaves; and such is now the necessity which forces us to boycott the Cocoa Industry. The history of the present Cocoa Industry is a history of repeated injuries.

We the children of 5B, declare our independence from chocolate produced using the forced labor of children.

Our blog, "Room 5B," will document our fight against child slavery as we write to local newspapers and classrooms around the United States, raise awareness in our community, both at school and in our neighborhoods, and fund-raise for charitable organizations fighting the good fight against child slavery in the cocoa industry.

It is a blog written by children for children. We hope you will join us in our fight.

- Mr. Mahdavian