Six-year-old Persuades Principal, School to Join Nestle Boycott

Josh brings the Nestle boycott to his community

We have boycotted Nestle for years, but wasn’t until this year that my 6 year-old son really paid much attention.  The day after listening to my husband and I passionately discuss our displeasure at the Pan American Health Office of the World Health Organization accepting money from Nestle, Josh began picking through his Halloween candy stash, throwing out anything with the Nestle logo.  For a 6 year-old that was a serious commitment!

Given that, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised on Monday night when he informed me in truly shocked tones that the hot cocoa his class was using was made by Nestle!

So the next morning I sent Josh to school with 60 packets of non-Nestle cocoa and a hand-written note that said:

“Our family participates in the Nestle boycott due to Nestlé’s predatory marketing in the 3rd world that leads to infant and child illness and death. When Josh came home from school yesterday he told me how dismayed he was to find that the hot cocoa used for kitchen work in his class was made by Nestle. Josh is especially aware of the impact Nestle has on the world as I am currently part of an effort to encourage the Pan American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization, to return money it accepted from Nestle. It is important to us to validate Josh’s concerns and teach him that his actions can make a difference, so he and I came to the decision to buy another brand of cocoa to replace the Nestle cocoa in the classroom. It is certainly up to you whether or not to use it, but I felt it was important for Josh to feel empowered to act on something he believes in. Thank you so much for your support! “

As I sent him off to school I was pretty convinced that move had forever marked me as the crazy mom, although my son told me the teachers had switched out the cocoa without comment.  Then at 10PM that night I received this email from the school principal:

“Thank you for donating the hot chocolate and for bringing this company to my attention! The teachers shared your note with me and I admit I was not aware of the corporate world impact of the Nestle company. Two of our other teachers informed me of the information you shared with them during our recent picnic and I was shocked to discover that they even made formula! I was a La Leche League counselor for ten years and am fanatic about the importance of breast feeding for all children, especially those in third world countries.

I think it is great that Josh is aware of world issues. It is in these formative years that children learn to care not just about themselves and their immediate families, but the world community as well. And how important it is for everyone to speak up when they see something that is wrong! I will no longer order the Nestle brand for the cooking centers and really appreciate you bringing it to my attention. If it is OK with you, I would like to talk to the class about why we changed the brand and to announce to the class that Josh and his family brought it to my attention. I think it would be a great lesson for all the children to see that they can be powerful and create changes and it would be nice for Josh to know that his concerns have been heard and he made an important impact!”

On Friday the principal assembled much of the school to talk about why they would no longer buy Nestle products.  When she called on Josh, my little first grader stood up and told it like it is. 

I am teary-eyed as I finish this post.  I never would have expected such an overwhelmingly positive response.  Not only did I find an ally and fellow breastfeeding advocate in this wonderful principal, but because my 6 year-old was brave enough to speak up and his teachers and principal cared enough to listen, Josh educated and changed his community.

His school is now part of the Nestle Boycott.

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13 Responses to Six-year-old Persuades Principal, School to Join Nestle Boycott

  1. Janine says:

    I’m impressed with your supportive community — That’s so awesome!

  2. Kerstin d says:

    Proud momma moment! I have tears in my eyes, too!
    And our principle is a bed-sharing, full term nursing momma, too! I love the reception you got! Everything about this blog post is a win!

  3. Sarah says:

    Amazing! What a testament that one child, one family can make a difference in educating hundreds or more!

  4. Fabulous blog … incredible result … wonderful to read with my lactation advocate’s eye, but mostly with my mother’s eye. How bustingly proud you must be of your fine young man with his gentle heart, tactful manner but razor focus. You’re my kind of crazy family.

  5. Katy says:

    I love his sign and his heart. Great job Momma!!

  6. Lara says:

    I normally don’t cry, but this made me cry. This is such an amazing thing! You have done an amazing thing Josh! :)

  7. Mike Brady says:

    What a great story, illustrating how the Nestlé boycott raises awareness of the baby milk issue and puts Nestlé in the spotlight.

    I have just been at the World Breastfeeding Conference in Delhi, India, and was humbled by people from around the world who wanted to say thanks for the boycott campaign. Some of them I have worked with on stopping unethical practices, others receive Baby Milk Action’s updates and use them in their work.

    It makes all the difference to them, I heard time and again, to know there are people around the world listening when they expose how Nestlé and other companies are endangering their children and helping them to combat the pressure this transnational corporation brings to bear on policy makers in their country.

    These are inspiring people, mobilising their communities with courage and imagination, yet they are also inspired by those supporting and promoting the boycott.

    Thank you for sharing this story – I will pass it on. It makes a difference.

  8. Nicole T says:

    Wow. You have done a great thing, raising your boy to be compassionate and brave enough to stand up for what is right – those two things are among the very difficult things to do that are not often seen in our society today. He is going to make someone a very awesome partner someday!

  9. Margie Forrest says:

    My daughter Laurie had a much less positive experience back when she was in the 5th grade. She’s 24 now, so it looks like there is improvement! http://www.infactcanada.ca/Girlcotting.htm

  10. Lara says:

    Proof of a few things:
    1. Our kids actually listen ;)
    2. They care about what matters to us.
    3. They understand action and are ready to help effect change!

    Great job Josh – love it!

  11. Bridget says:

    Wow, this made me totally verklempt. I would never have expected this kind of reaction from a school. Did this happen in the US?!? Is this a public school? I would have expected them to be all “freedom!” and “capitalism!” etc. at the very least I would expect the teachers to kindly accept the hot chocolate per your request and quietly label you as a “problem mom” who brings her political beliefs into the classroom etc. I am very pleasantly surprised.

  12. cammy says:

    This is the kind of child i want to raise my son to be. informed and caring. It is awesome that you teach him about this stuff instead of making it an “adults only” kind of conversation topic. This made my day, and was definetly biiig win for us!

  13. Thank you all for your kind words! Josh is an amazing kid, and has a truly wonderful principal and caring teachers. I learn from him everyday!

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