Mercanta have joined forces with Café Pacas, to reach beyond the coffee plantations and put the proceeds from coffee back into communities in El Salvador.
After an initial donation early last year, we decided to continue our support of two schools sponsored by Café Pacas. By donating 10p from the sale of every 1kg of coffee from Finca El Talapo, Finca El Retiro & Finca La Guachoca, we were able to hand over $2000 to the “Power to Transform” project this week.
Part of Funpres (Foundation for Special Educational Needs), an initiative whose aim is to improve education and health in El Salvador, “The Power to Transform” project in which we are involved, is already having very positive outcomes.
Started in February 2012, the project was set up to implement a culture of peace and improve the quality of education within El Salvador. This is being done through 25 schools set up throughout the country with the help of private companies.
This is where Café Pacas gets involved. As part of the project they are sponsoring two schools close to four of their coffee farms in El Salvador. Between them, Buenos Aires school and Manual Parada Salgado school have nearly 500 students enrolled and employ 16 teachers.
Psychologists work together with the students, teachers, parents and other members of the community on different workshops such as conflict resolution and building social skills. Students from 1st to 9th grade having taken part in classes during which they discuss themes surrounding their bodies, feelings and identity. Creative Response to Conflict is a good example of one workshop whose main objectives are to improve self-esteem, promote good communication skills, build teamwork and introduce different techniques that will help individuals solve conflicts in creative way without using violence.
In both schools, the whole community is very enthusiastic about and grateful for the program as it not only assists the students of the schools but also benefits their families. The principal of Manual Parada Salgado school is very positive sharing that he is “beginning to sense many positive changes in the community in general.”
But all these positive changes come at a price. Resources such as weekly visits from a clinical psychiatrist quickly add up, meaning all money is fundamental to helping the project continue.
Marcela Pacas summed up perfectly why we continue to be involved: “To be able to sell our coffee to a lot of people around the world makes us very happy and enthusiastic, but to know that this is not just coffee, but instead it is “Coffee for a Cause” makes things even more meaningful to us.”