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Colombia: How fair trade coffee is transforming kids’ lives

Oscar (L) works with some of the new equipment our partnership has provided to his school

Since 2007, sales of Fair Instant coffee have been raising funds for our life changing work in Colombia, helping to give thousands of children the chance of a better education.

Oscar, who lives in the Narino coffee growing region, tells us about his life and how his experience at school has been transformed thanks to the partnership:

“I live in Policarpa in Narino region, a place which is very difficult to reach. The road is always destroyed by landslides or explosions caused by the armed groups.

Worried about armed groups

“I’m in ninth grade in Policarpa School. I really like going to school and learning new things, because I believe that education is the only way of moving forward and helping my family.

“My town is a beautiful place, with mountains, valleys and the river. It makes me sad that even though my town is so pretty, we always have to worry about the armed groups.

“In the streets nearby live members of the illegal armed groups who constantly attack the people. I remember that a few months ago we had to run away from home because we live close to the police station and there was a gun battle.

Asked to join drug groups

“Thankfully I haven’t lost anyone from my family, but many neighbours and friends have. It’s made me scared of explosions and confrontations. Other people who have left looking for safety have been kidnapped.

“The saddest part of all is that it’s us, the children, who have to live with the consequences of the situation. We are constantly being asked to join the lines of members of the armed groups, to work as harvesters of coca, as informers or to buy and sell drugs.

“The cultivators say they prefer to employ children because they can pay less, and they say they have more energy to work.

“Now I generally feel good at school. Before, the teachers were really boring because they only wrote on the blackboard and made us copy down without even asking us if we understood.

Positive changes

“Since this Save the Children project started, we’ve seen a lot of changes in our school. The teachers use new sports and school equipment.

“With the arrival of Save the Children we are also attending activities in which we fight for our community and they’ve taught us that education isn’t an obligation but a right that we have to enjoy.

“They’ve helped us learn about our rights, child protection, and that it is important to express ourselves and make the community know our opinions. I’m happy because now there are good relations between my peers and we know a lot about values and rights, which helps us to respect each other.”

Fair Instant is available to buy from Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Booths or online at www.fair-instant.co.uk 10p from the sale of every jar goes towards our education work in Colombia.

And right now Fair Instant are offering 10p off every jar or tin:

click here to get your voucher

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