The Story of the Cafe Femenino Foundation
The story began with 464 women in Northern Peru in 2004.
At the first gathering of Women Coffee Producers a new " idea separating their coffee from the rest of the production" was proposed. This concept was conceived through the combined efforts of PROASSA, CICAP, CECANOR, and the women themselves searching for ideas that would improve the conditions of their lives.
These women represent new century pioneers. Theirs is the story of women not just in the rural communities in Peru, but of women throughout developing nations. Many of these women have no rights, have been abandoned and are abused. Many are alone with children and no income. Even with little or no self esteem left, they continue to hold out hope for a better life.
With the help of organic and Fair Trade premiums, much progress has been made in recent years to improve life in the expanding number of rural coffee growing communities. Improvements range from better diets, improved sanitation, new wet-processing mills, and many, many miles of new roads.
Despite the progress, the marginalization of women in these rural communities has grown worse. In urban areas of Peru the abuse rate is estimated at 41%. Due to the isolation in rural communities, the rate is far higher.
In these areas of lower cultural living standards, women are not only isolated, but mistreated physically and emotionally. With little resources, the coffee family invests available resources in educating the sons. The daughters stay home, devoted to chores around the house and watching over the farm. They usually marry between the ages of 12 and 16. With the help of organic and Fair Trade premiums, much progress has been made in recent years to improve life in the expanding number of rural coffee growing communities. Improvements range from better diets, improved sanitation, new wet-processing mills, and many, many miles of new roads.
The women farmer participates in all farm activities. They prepare the terrain, nurseries, and the compost. They fertilize the soil and prepare bio-fertilizers, as well as harvesting, de-pulping, fermenting, and drying the coffee. It is very rare for women to participate in selling the coffee or making decisions on how the money from coffee sales will be used.
Insufficient funds and a full spectrum of social problems have hindered attempts to intervene. But with the payment of organic and the Fair Trade premiums, efforts are underway to promote the organization of the female coffee farmers and their integration into social, political, and occupational organizations.
Our goal is to work within the existing socio-economic structure to foster change. By supporting women coffee growers, we improve the quality of life in the entire community and build a sustainable economic system.
The importer of coffee from the Cafe Femenino project agreed to sell the coffee as Fair Trade, with that price going to the Co-op as in all Fair Trade transactions. An additional two cents per pound would also be paid for the coffee. These additional funds provide extra income that goes directly to the women producers to decide how to use.
The Café Femenino Foundation supports efforts to improve the view of women's roles by supporting programs and projects that generate sales the women can control. The women are excited by the potential, and have received support from community leaders.
Forums that focus on building self esteem and leadership have been provided. Women are able to share their experiences from work in the field to participation in other organizations.
This story is about hope, but the story must be shared.
The Café Femenino Foundation supports this circle of hope. The women produce the coffee. Their consumers donate to the Foundation. The Foundation completes the circle by providing grants to worthy projects and programs that enhance the lives of all members of the coffee producing community.
We hope you share the story and the coffee, and become a part of an endeavor that can change the lives and future of women and families throughout developing nations. Make a donation today!