Meet Luz Sisa, 24, from Mulalo, Ecuador. Luz, a mother of two, has been working at Agrocoex harvesting Fair Trade certified roses for One World Flowers since 2010. She states:
We have fun working here and receive so many benefits. My daughter Shirley is in daycare, I receive small credits, computer courses, have my teeth checked, and above all, we are hoping to get a home in the new housing complex. We dream of having a roof over our heads that we know is ours.
Elvia Almachi, 32, from Guaytacama, holds a bundle of recently harvested Fair Trade-certified roses.
Elvia has been working at Agrogana, a One World Flowers supplier, for 12 years and is currently a production-line field supervisor. She has been part of the Fair Trade committee in the past and has two daughters, aged 9 and 12. Elvia and her husband Luis Alberto Villegas, also an Agrogana employee, are two of only five employees to participate on the weekend adult school program paid by the Fair Trade premium fund. They are both currently studying an equivalent to high school degrees.
Before I worked in a different local flower company and they exploited us. Even while I was pregnant! Once I came here, I could tell the difference was huge. We would like for everyone in Ecuador who works in the flower industry to have the same great benefits we do here. Please continue to believe in us. There are many of us who need to continue improving our quality of life through the Fair Trade premium fund. It is through these Fair Trade flowers that hundreds of families, like mine, continually improve our lives.
Carmen Pucuji, 41, from San Francisco Mulaloj, pets one of her dogs at home. Carmen, a single mother, has been working at Agrogana for 11 years.
I work for my son. he is everything to me. So I am very grateful for the Fair Trade premium fund as it has allowed me to get him a computer, pay for transport, supplies, and tuition to send him to a better school. You know, get ahead in life. The Fair Trade premium fund is a very big help to all the families who receive it. Thank you.
Her son, Kevin, is an outstanding student who excels in computer science and English. Due to his achievements, he has received a special Fair Trade-sponsored scholarship to study at a top school in the town of Latacunga where he can receive a higher level of education not available locally.