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NSW school becomes the first to have Fair Trade uniforms -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: A school in the New South Wales Blue Mountains says it's found a new way to teach students about economics and sustainability.

Hazelbrook Public School has become the first school in Australia to have Fair Trade uniforms - and the idea's going viral.

Since the school began selling the uniforms there's been interest from schools across the country who want to do the same thing.

Thomas Oriti reports.

THOMAS ORITI: Students here at Hazelbrook Public School are settling into the new year.

And School Captain Maddie Storniolo and Vice-Captain Matteo Lieu are proudly wearing their blue and gold polo shirts.

MADDIE STORNIOLO: Fifty per cent of them is plastic bottles, which is pretty cool, and they come from India, which is the other side of the world.

MATTEO LIEU: They're also made out of cotton, so that gives it the stretchiness.

THOMAS ORITI: At first glance it's not obvious, but these shirts are different.

They're the first school uniforms in the country to have a Fair Trade certification, an acknowledgment that a product meets strict international standards to protect workers and the environment.

And it's a journey that began four years ago, when local mother Anna Dohnt visited India, to ensure that every worker involved in making the shirts was treated fairly and paid a decent wage.

ANNA DOHNT: For me as a mother it's really important that I'm dressing my children in something that is actually uplifting people somewhere in the world and not causing misery to another child.

I want what they're wearing every day to actually be empowering other children somewhere and making sure that children in developing countries can go to school.

THOMAS ORITI: Anna Dohnt now runs a Fair Trade supply business and since Fair Trade Australia announced the certification, it seems the idea has taken off.

ANNA DOHNT: We've been absolutely overwhelmed with interest from schools from different parts of Australia, so at the moment we're organising our structure to cope with all the enquiries.

THOMAS ORITI: Back at Hazelbrook Public School it's been a busy time for the uniform shop co-ordinator, Cheryl Griswold, but she says it's worth it.

CHERYL GRISWOLD: My daughter said "Mum this is big, we're helping other families. It's on my back, but it's important. I'm so glad we did it."

And that's what it's about, is having those conversations with our kids about the stuff that we have and we take for granted in our lives.

THOMAS ORITI: The school principal David Nosworthy says there's an educational benefit to the uniforms too.

DAVID NOSWORTHY: The school uniforms for us also prompt the capacity to provide discussion with our kids, the capacity for our students to develop an understanding of where a product starts from and how that can impact on people right back at the source of the manufacture, right back at the source of the cotton, which is where this is.

It's more than just the school uniform.

THOMAS ORITI: Now, the school's planning to stock its canteen with Fair Trade goods, not to mention products for its Mother's and Father's Day stalls.

And student leaders Maddie and Matteo say they're proud their school is helping to make a difference.

MADDIE STORNIOLO: It's a really big thing to be part of it. It's really amazing.

MATTEO LIEU: I think many other schools in Australia will come on board.

MADDIE STORNIOLO: Because, you know, it makes a big impact on those other people.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Captain of Hazelbrook Public School Maddie Storniolo ending Thomas Oriti's report.