This Sunday is Mothering Sunday. It is also the last Sunday in Fairtrade Fortnight. Here is a story from Florentina, a mother in Panama.
Before we formed our co-operative, Coobana, we were part of a state-owned company growing bananas to sell on to a large multi-national company. I will always remember that there was one day when my eldest son said to me, "Mama, there's nothing more to eat." It hurt me so much because there wasn't anything.
The biggest problem we had then was communal toilets that 4-5 families would have to share and we wanted to get rid of. We also had an unreliable water source. The children especially suffered a lot from diarrhoea and from illnesses because of it.
If it weren't for Fairtrade, our co-operative Coobana, wouldn't have survived. As soon as we started selling as Fairtrade the price improved to $9.75 per box, and we received an extra dollar the Fairtrade Premium per box too, which has enabled us to achieve a lot.
From then till now things changed. We give grants to workers and Co-op members to build new homes or improve what they have. Hundreds of families now have a new, safe and more comfortable home with privacy. I have improved and extended my home, adding a kitchen and bathroom so that we no longer need to use the communal latrine.