Impoverished farmers and workers often need their children to work in order to make enough to support the family. Fair Trade helps provide farming families with the income and stability they need to keep their children studying in school, instead of working in the fields. From Nicaragua to India, farmer and worker associations have used Fair Trade funds to provide school supplies and transportation, pay for tuition and uniforms, set up scholarship programs, and finance free, healthy meals for children. Fair Trade revenues generated by the U.S. market have helped build schools and give the gift of education in some of the most historically isolated communities around the developing world.
- Fair Trade has funded the purchase computers for schools so the children of workers are able to supplement their studies in the classroom.
- Fair Trade premiums have supported the purchase of school buses and even a hostel for students who live far away from school.
- Fair Trade cooperatives invest community development premiums to fund health education programs and trainings for women.
- One Fair Trade coffee cooperative in Ethiopia funded school improvements and construction of new schools.
- On the Dazhanshan tea cooperative in China, tea farmers invested a portion of the Fair Trade premiums into building library and computer facilities for students.
- On the Dazhanshan tea cooperative in China, tea farmers allocated funds to each of the farmers’ children to support their enrollment in high school and university.
- Fair Trade cooperatives provide training for farmers in post-harvest management, organic production and production, and leadership, administrative and financial skills in order to build capacity.
- For hired laborers, nursing schools and day care centers are provided to take care of young children while parents are working.
- Fair Trade cooperatives provide management scholarships to farmers who want to continue their education at universities.
- Many producers are able to diversify into alternative sources of income, such as planting new crops or purchasing sewing and weaving machines. Having multiple sources of income provides economic security even in a volatile market.
- Members of cooperatives have been able to build new homes, and provide running water and electricity to existing ones.
- Some cooperatives have created support networks for elders including pension funds, health care and special holiday services.
- Fair Trade cooperatives subsidize projects in livestock raising, fruit and vegetable gardens, and medicinal plants to be used by the community.
- Producer organizations have constructed roads and bridges that connect the communities to the outside world.