Adult Literacy Project

 

We have been sourcing coffee from Jaime Lovo’s farm, Finca Santa Isabel, for five years. Our project here has been focused on the standard of living and working conditions for the workers on Jaime's farm. The areas we specifically wanted to address over the course of this project were the availability of food, access to healthcare, and adult literacy and education. 

The first phase of our project here focused on food security; Jaime started by using funds from the project to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and grain and supplying his workers with free meals every day during working hours. He also started providing free meals to his workers and augmented the workday schedule so that they would have a period of time to take a break and eat.

The second condition of our project ensures that medical care would be available to all Finca Santa Isabel employees. This medical care is provided free of cost to employees, and in case of any incapacitating work-related injury, the employee in need is compensated for the amount he or she would have received during the harvest year. Jaime hired a medic who is available 24 hours a day to his workers, to ensure that any ill or injured worker will be quickly treated without incurring personal financial hardship. In addition, Jaime has taken extra steps in increasing the standard of living on his farm and has installed solar panels and a landline telephone in worker housing buildings. This way workers can have electricity in their living quarters and can call their families at any time.

Since establishing a consistent food supply, access to medical care, and improving worker housing the third phase of our project at Finca Santa Isabel has been focused on increasing adult literacy among farm workers. Funds from our project have been used to build a sheltered classroom, complete with electricity and learning materials to be used by anyone enrolled in school and affiliated with Finca Santa Isabel. Jaime has hired a full time teacher who offers classes in reading, writing and basic math to the workers every day. The farm workers and their children both attend school now. Where the adult farmers were previously illiterate, they are now able to read and write. 

project timeline 

May 2012: Think Coffee begins its relationship with Jaime Lovo, owner of Finca Santa Isabel.

September 2012: We propose a project that addresses working and living conditions for workers on Jaime's farm. Jaime has agreed to provide fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat to workers every day, to hire a medic to be available 24 hours a day, and to create a classroom space and hire a teacher to conduct classes for workers. 

December 2013: Jaime shows Think Coffee Director of Coffee and International Projects, Noah Welch, food stocks for workers, and a log of who has been sick and what medicine they have been given. He has also constructed a classroom space on the farm, where class meets every day from 3-5 pm. Jaime also goes above and beyond the original agreements of the contract and buys solar panels to install in worker housing. 

February 2014: Farm hires a full time, well-paid teacher who offers class after lunch every day. Farm has also switched to 100% organic fertilizer and solar panels are now installed throughout. 

June 2014: Bleecker Street store manager, Dylan Schultz, visits Finca Santa Isabel and reports that working and living conditions continue to improve. 

February 2016: Noah travels to Finca Santa Isabel and reports more developments regarding harvest quality and expanding the classroom capacity. 

January 2017: Workers continue to attend class. Think Coffee and Jaime Lovo agree to make additions to the project; adding an alimentation package to payday that includes rice, oil, sugar, chicken, and coffee that workers can bring back to their families. 

 

additional information 

To view our project data, click here.

To read our Finca Santa Isabel travel journal, click here.

To read UNESCO's report on education and literacy in Nicaragua, click here.