April 16 2015

Life changing gold

We have been working with Sotrami since the launch of FT in 2011 and the relationship has grown as we have developed the sales of Fairtrade gold.

Each kilo of gold we buy contributes $2000 in premiums for the local community, on top of the price for the gold. As the awareness of Fairtrade gold has grown, these premiums have transformed the community of San Filomena. If we take the figures that Sotrami and its Social Worker have given us for 2013 & 2014, we can say that the premium has been rising over 50% year on year. 

High up in the Andes, miles from any hospital, supermarket or even piped water supply, these families have had the opportunity to develop their healthcare, education and social circumstances.

To understand better how the premium is spent, we first need to explain that of the total premium they receive, 70% is spent by Sotrami for the general use, improvement and maintenance of the whole community. As there is no state welfare in Peru, the remaining 30% goes to specific individuals for personal circumstances.

Imagine finishing work for the day. You can't just nip to the cinema for an evening as you are miles from another town. You have just another hour or so before the electricity is cut off until tomorrow. Medical facilities are minimal and if you have an accident at work it is a long and bumpy ride in the back of a truck to the nearest emergency care. Your kids have limited opportunities as they don't have computers at school and there aren't the funds for trips or further education.

Over the last 2 years, things have improved immeasurably. The energy and water supply has gone from being connected just 4 hours a day per household to now being connected 24/7.
The newly extended medical centre has two new treatment rooms, and a new staff room with beds & showers! And also a 4x4 ambulance service which is always on standby. both the primary & secondary school are now connected to electricity, and have a computer room.
Plus the social life of the community has taken off due to the new football pitch with fake grass, the only rectangle of green to be seen for miles around!

During 2013 the community allocated some of the premium towards 15 individual cases and in 2014 over 33.
· Ruth Isabel Espinoza Otazo was given financial support for her family for the illness and long-term sickness of their child.
· Espinoza Garcia Gumercindo was no longer able to work because of the progression of his Parkinsons and so his family lost their only income.
· Jose Maria Arguedas, a teacher, applied for 18 grants for students to go on a school trip and widen their horizons.
· Jorge Donayre Anicama received a student grant to go to further education, and infinitely extend the opportunities for his future career.

We're just waiting for Google Earth to update their imagery as we want to know if the new astroturf is visible from space!!