Fair Indigo Foundation
Transforming individuals, families, and societies from poverty to prosperity should compel all of us to fixate on just two fundamentals: fair wages and education.
Fair wages establish a baseline where basic needs – food, shelter, health care – are not constant anxieties. And education is the gateway to transformational change – better jobs, better wages, and instilling the values of education and hard work to the next generation.
The Fair Indigo Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve educational opportunities for children in the Peruvian communities where our cotton is grown, our alpacas are herded, and our products are made.
The Foundation is funded by donations and by the support of Fair Indigo, which covers 100% of administrative and fundraising costs. That means every penny donated goes directly to supporting schools, teachers, and kids. You may not believe a $5 round-up at checkout can transform lives, but the lion’s share of the good done by the Foundation was funded by $5 donations.
The Manchay School
The Manchay School started as a makeshift building funded by various local charities. The school combats urban poverty by serving the children of families living in one of the poorest unincorporated neighborhoods of the capital city of Lima - the desert hillside shantytown pictured above where no public schools were accessible.
At this school, the Foundation funded an expansion of classrooms including doubling the school’s size with a new 2nd floor, equipment for a new computer lab, and donations of books for their beautiful library.
Another important part of education is f.u.n. fun! So the Foundation also funded a playground where the kids could play soccer and volleyball or just run their energy off on recess.
The school has thrived, growing from just over 50 students to over 400. In 2015, we were thrilled to learn the Manchay School was finally recognized as a legitimate school by the government and is now being fully funded as such – the goal of the school’s founders and caretakers from the start.
The Serapis School
The Serapis School serves impoverished rural kids in this highlands community of northern Peru, near Cajamarca. The school was founded by Javier and Elsa – the family that grows our organic cotton and runs our fair trade workshops.
When the Foundation first started making donations to the school, it had no running water or electricity and was attended by 45 children ranging in age from 3-13. Before the school opened, these children had to walk several 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 made life much easier in this rural community. Breakfast and lunch are prepared daily by parent volunteers and attendance has improved dramatically as families get directly involved in their child’s education.
The Foundation supports the school by providing funds for teachers’ salaries, school supplies, and books.
In 2014 and 2015, the school was able to install electricity, indoor plumbing, and a safe drinking water tap – game changers for the day-to-day experience! Previously each child brought a jug of water he or she filled from rivers along the walk to school. A parent volunteer boiled it for drinking.
Meeting the parents of the kids is a humbling and emotional experience. The heartfelt gratitude they feel for all who have donated to the school is difficult for most of us to imagine. But just a few years ago, these parents had little hope that their children would ever see the inside of a classroom.
Teacher recruitment is a constant challenge in this remote rural community, but donations have enabled the school to employ a teacher to separate the older kids from the younger ones – streamlining their lesson plans.
And here’s another exciting first for the school. Eberth, pictured below, is the first student from the school (and indeed his entire village) to get accepted into Law School at the University of Cajamarca! Eberth attended the Serapis School from the time he was 8 years old. His mom told us it has been her and her husband’s dream to have a child who simply finishes elementary school as they never did. Attending college was something they never even remotely considered a possibility.
To donate, you can add it to your shopping cart here or check the donation box at checkout.