One of our priorities at Dilworth Coffee is to build relationships with the producers of the coffees we roast and share these connections with our customers. One of the most impactful of these relationships began with our friends at De La Finca Importers and their family’s farm, Santa Lucia, in Los Planes, Honduras. This is one of our oldest direct trade relationships and during one of our first visits to the farm we learned that the local school only offered classes through the 6th grade. As we learned more it became clear that this was not uncommon in rural areas of Honduras. Since an important part of our direct trade philosophy is to give back to the producing communities in a way that can benefit the entire community, we thought that helping provide education beyond the 6th grade would be a worthy goal.
Working with De La Finca we were able to connect with the non-profit organization Educate2Envision or E2E. Their whole mission is to create secondary schools in rural areas of Honduras because while nearly 100% of Honduran youth have access to a primary school, that drops to less than 50% for secondary school. To access education beyond grade 6, rural students often walk an average of 4 hours per day to get to and from the nearest secondary school. When transportation is available, it is often financially out of reach for many members of the community.
E2E meets this need by creating and operating 7th-9th grade classes in rural communities, working closely with universities, local governments, and the private sector. They also create youth leadership and entrepreneurship programs where the students learn by giving back to the community, creating a cycle that lessens the dependency on donations and foreign aid in the future. Projects are often focused to help the elderly. Students have coordinated the construction of concrete and tile floors in the homes of their communities’ oldest members. They have run plumbing for fresh water to homes and cleaned debris from waterways in their towns. They also provide tutoring and mentoring to the younger students in the community.
In 2018 we began our partnership with E2E in Los Planes. By donating 10 cents to E2E for every pound of coffee we buy from Santa Lucia, we were able to provide enough funding to establish and operate their first project school in a rural, mountain area where coffee is grown. Our funding to E2E covers the teachers’ salaries, school fees, and book costs for the poorest students and any who are from a single-parent household, as well as school uniforms and classroom items such as a laptop computer and overhead projector. We are very proud to say that after 4 years we have seen an entire group of students graduate from the program, with many heading off to continue their education at the next levels. Several graduates have also continued to mentor younger students and volunteer with E2E.
Due to the success in Los Planes, E2E has been able to replicate this program and establish 8 more schools in underserved, rural coffee-growing regions of Honduras.
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