Mukantelina Soline, Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative, Rwanda
Kyomugisha Joy, Mpanga Tea Estate, Uganda
Guadalupe Intriago Mera, Forteleza del Valle Cocoa Cooperative, Ecuador
Luz Sisa, Agrocoex Flower Farm, Ecuador
Carmen Pucuji, Agroganadera Flower Farm, Ecuador

Mukantelina Soline, Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative, Rwanda

Life isn't easy for Mukantelina Soline, but the benefits she receives from Fair Trade have made her days a little brighter.

Mukantelina is a single mother raising three children;--one goes to school, one is unable to attend school due to chronic illness, and her youngest son accompanies her as she cares for her coffee plants. Joining the Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative in 2003 gave Mukantelina extra support with the processing and sale of her coffee so that she could spend more time with her children.

The additional income that Mukantelina has received from Fair Trade has enabled her to bring electricity to her home and to buy cows that provide milk for her kids. She has also started to buy food to supplement what she grows, giving her family a more well-rounded diet to combat malnutrition.

Growing coffee is hard work, but being a member of the cooperative gives me a support system and provides a strong sense of community. We're all working together.

Kyomugisha Joy, Mpanga Tea Estate, Uganda

Kyomugisha smiles when she talks about the impact of Fair Trade because it has given her the ability to send her children to school. A mother of four young children, with another on the way this summer, she is hopeful that they will all be able to follow their dreams.

Her family has been farming tea for seven years, and Kyomugisha recognizes the potential for women in her community to improve their lives by being more involved in the cultivation of tea. She is working with a group of women to establish tea nurseries and training programs to teach women the trade. They are also promoting the establishment of kitchen gardens to diversify crop production and combat malnutrition.

When women in my community realize that they can contribute more to the success of their family, they get excited.

Guadalupe Intriago Mera, Forteleza del Valle Cocoa Cooperative, Ecuador

Guadalupe has been a cacao grower all her life and is the regional president of her cocoa cooperative. In this role, she is the voice of her community, provides technical assistance, and educates members about the benefits of Fair Trade.

In her free time, Guadalupe is a mother of three pre-teens. She teaches them everything she knows about growing cocoa, so that they can someday be members of the cooperative too. Fair Trade has given Guadalupe and her community the stable prices and market access needed to improve their living conditions and invest in their future.

I want everyone to know and feel the beauty of cacao, its traditions. It is my heritage that I want to pass on to my children. It has given us our way of life.

Luz Sisa, Agrocoex Flower Farm, Ecuador

Luz Sisa, age 25, is a young mom who has never had to worry about day care for her Shirley thanks to Fair Trade. She also receives dental care and access to a computer center, programs that are funded by Fair Trade.

However, it is the housing program that Luz is most excited about. The farm’s Fair Trade committee has voted to use its community development premiums to help employees like Luz purchase land to build their very own homes. The vision of the project is give employees access to housing in a safe, healthy and productive community to reduce poverty, crime and illiteracy.

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.

Carmen Pucuji, Agroganadera Flower Farm, Ecuador

Carmen Pucuji has worked at the Agrogana Flower Farm for the past 12 years, and every day of work has been for her 15-year-old son Kevin, a very talented student with big dreams.

Because of his achievements, Kevin was awarded a Fair Trade scholarship from Agrogana’s Fair Trade Committee to study at a top school in the region. His transportation, supplies and tuition will all be covered, allowing him and his mom to focus on making the most of this exciting opportunity.

I’m very grateful for Fair Trade because it has allowed me to send my son to a better school so he can get ahead in life. Fair Trade is very helpful to families like mine.