No permission slips needed for this excursion

Educating for change article written on the 08 Aug 2011

Sneaky Business website

They look great, they’re practical, they often cost a small fortune and the companies that own them splurge millions of dollars to get the likes of David Beckham and Michael Jordan to endorse them. But sneakers are not as innocent as they seem, as you’ll see in Oxfam’s new interactive educational website, Sneaky Business.

The permission slip-free excursion is Sneaky Business’ online virtual march around the world.  Students can visit countries like Indonesia, Germany, the Dominican Republic, USA and more to increase their awareness of human rights issues in global manufacturing.

Throughout August and September, students can learn about working conditions in different countries and practise active citizenship in a real-time,  fun and engaging way by participating in the virtual march in support of footwear workers’ rights.

The popularity of sneaker fashion amongst  young people will make this a popular activity and conversation starter. Students can join the march by uploading a photo of their favourite sneakers  and creating their own message to encourage footwear manufacturers to take responsibility for their workers’ rights.

Try Sneaky Business on for size (ahem…couldn’t resist) as an activity for Pastoral Care, a project for the SRC or for social justice  groups to get on board with. Here are a few suggestions for subject links:

  • Geography — human environments, global perspectives and challenges, people and development
  • Studies of Society and Environment — global citizenship, human rights, consumption and sustainability
  • Economics/Commerce — global economics, people and economic activity
  • The Arts — ethical fashion.

Oxfam Australia also has a range of Labour Rights resources available to further explore this important issue.

Happy marching!