In addition to paying workers fair wages, we believe that the best way to help developing countries prosper is through education. As a result, we have established the Fair Indigo Foundation — a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities in the developing countries where our products are made.
The Fair Indigo Foundation continues to support two impoverished schools in Peru. Serapis, an elementary school in the high Andes of northern Peru, serves rural children who would otherwise have to walk many miles down the mountain to attend school. Manchay School combats urban poverty by serving the children of families living in a desert hillside shantytown near the Peruvian capital, Lima.
Located near Cajamarca, the Serapis school was founded by the family that helps us make our Joobles line of organic, fair trade stuffed animals. With no running water or electricity, the school is nestled in the high Andean countryside and attended by 45 children ranging in age from 3-13 years. Before the opening of Serapis, children had to walk many miles down the mountain to attend school in the nearest town and, not surprisingly, attendance was spotty. The opportunity to attend class close to home has made life much easier in this rural community. Breakfast and lunch are prepared daily by parent volunteers and again, not surprisingly, attendance has improved dramatically as families get directly involved in the "neighborhood" school.
The Fair Indigo Foundation supports the school by providing money for teachers’ salaries, schoolsupplies and books for the classrooms, and funding for indoor bathroom facilities to replace the outdated and dilapidated outdoor ones. The Peruvian government says electricity is on its way.
The Manchay School is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods outside of Lima. Donations of books and supplies in 2008 and 2010, along with books donated from various other groups, has grown into a beautiful library.
Manchay School is supported by the local Rotary Club and we continue to work with local Rotarians whose efforts have resulted in noticeable improvements to the school including a library, computer lab, new windows and new bathroom facilities. Enrollment at the school has increased by nearly 100 students in two years' time and our most recent donation was used to build a new classroom and to purchase equipment for a new computer lab.
Approximately 350 students attend class at the Manchay School and we are humbled by the gratitude of the teachers and students for the donations we give through the generous support of our customers.