The Mind of a Child is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Hershey agreed to meet with roughly 50 members of UMW on June 13th, one day after World Day Against Child Labor. UMW invited Green America and the International Labor Rights Forum to join the meeting, however, upon arrival, we were told the meeting with Hershey would be a closed meeting, open only to members of UMW. Hershey was likely scared we would ask them tough questions. For example, What is the actual reach and impact of the initiatives you have launched in Ghana in improving farmer livlihoods? Or, When will Hershey commit to sourcing indepentely certified child-labor-free cocoa for all of its products, as some of its competitors have pledged to do?

The UMW were well prepared for the meeting. They recognized that Hershey’s intitial steps towards sustainability and phinalthropy are laudable and welcome, but that the $6billion company could do far more to help farming communities and to prevent abusive child labor in the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

After the meeting, the women held a devotional service in honor of children around the world who are forced to work in abusive and dangerous working conditions against their will, often in place of going to school.

“The mind of a child is a terrible thing to waste,” shared one member of the UMW Baltimore Washington Conference in her closing prayer. “Let our children not be lost to child labor.”

The actions of the UMW show how the work of a few committed individuals, with collective economic power, really can change the world, and turn the head of a multibillion dollar corporation.

TAKE ACTION: Call Hershey to ask them your own “tough” questions

Learn more about UMW’s activities in Hershey

Download talking points on the issue of child labor in cocoa

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