In Colombia, families face many obstacles to educational success. Government-funded public schools typically provide only one year of preschool, and many schools operate on a half-day schedule. Working parents with infants and toddlers often struggle to find high-quality child care during those crucial early years.
Whole Foods Market sources some of our Whole Trade® flowers from Elite Flower in Facatativá, Colombia, where an innovative program provides early childhood education, primary school and scholarships for children of farmworkers.
In 1999, Elite Flower created the Fernando Borrero Caicedo Foundation to improve the lives of farmworkers. In 2000, the foundation opened a day care center for babies three months and up. Two years later, the foundation opened an elementary school for children of farmworkers. This summer — thanks in part to your purchases of Whole Trade® flowers — the foundation will open a combined facility that can accommodate even more nursery school, preschool and elementary school students.
Each time you buy a Whole Trade product, a portion of what you paid goes into a development fund for the community that produced it. When you buy Whole Trade flowers from Colombia, those funds help support students like Juan Fernando, who enrolled in the foundation’s daycare when he was ten months old. Now, as an elementary school student, Juan Fernando has won many academic prizes, including a national math contest!Juan Fernando’s father, Guilivaldo, has worked for Elite Flower for nineteen years. With the opening of the new center, Guilivaldo hopes that more children will have access to the academic and social advantages that were available to Juan Fernando:
“"May this be the opportunity to thank you for all you have done for my son and to wish that you may continue with this beautiful work, especially now that with the new facilities you are building, you will open more positions so, as Juan Fernando has had this opportunity, many more children will be at the foundation."”
The new facility is closer to Elite’s headquarters, so children spend less time in transport and working parents can meet with teachers and participate in their children’s schooling. Check out the pictures below to see progress on the new buildings.
Do you have a favorite Whole Trade flower? We’d love to hear from you!