Bananeras de Urabá - Mi Tierra, Madrigal, Tagua, Cantares...
My name is Karen Andrea Garcia Higuita. I am 21 years old and belong to a working class family in the village of New Cologne, Colombia. My father's name is Donisel Garcia. He works in a banana plantation called Solomon which is part of Bananeras de Urabá. Through the Rosalba Cardona Zapata Corporation, I had access to one of my biggest dreams – a scholarship to pursue my university studies. In 2008, I began to study at the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia in Apartado, in the Public Accounting program. The company paid each semester as I completed them, ultimately investing a great deal of money in my education. This assistance has been invaluable and I am very grateful for the support. I hope I can give back to the community and the company with the knowledge I have gained. The company has been incredibly helpful in my professional development. ”
Karen Andrea Garcia Higuita, Scholarship Recipient
On behalf of myself and my family, I’d like to thank Fair Trade and Bananeras de Urabá for changing our way of life. Thanks to Fair Trade I have overcome many difficulties. Fair Trade has given me the joy of going to college and participating in a diploma program which led to my promotion into our management team. I started as an entry level worker and eventually moved to the quality inspection department. Recently, I was given the opportunity to become coordinator of the packing plant at the Mi Tierra Farm, one of the largest in the company. My family and I now have a beautiful home and many amenities. Through Bananeras de Urabá and Fair Trade our dreams have become a reality. ”
Hugo Herrera Fernel, Packing Supervisor
I received the new house in October 2011, which has signified a 100 percent shift in my family’s life. My labor has also seen positive changes mostly because I am freer from debt – having to pay $250 USD in rent before, where as now I pay the corporation $96 USD a month until my loan is paid. Each month I feel my house is more my own and now, all I have to worry about is utilities. Before, I used to live in the same neighborhood but in a dorm style environment. The apartment I paid for had two rooms and there was no privacy. The kitchen and dining areas were part of the same room. Now we have a comfortable home; everything is separated and more commodities are available; these changes mean a lot to us.” ”
Anderson de Jesús López Solera, Bananeras de Urabá
Skill Development for Women
In collaboration with SENA, Bananeras de Urabá is training women in an urban development program. Women have learned how to bake bread and cakes in addition to selling fried “empanadas” as a means to generate additional income. The results of this program have led the organization to invest in more training sessions teaching women how to form their own businesses.
The organization donated musical instruments to the “Sounds of Peace” youth community program. So far, workers claim the group’s music has reached the ears of 25,000 people through concerts and other activities. They hope to promote community, peace and harmony through music.