Fair Trade provides many benefits to producers, one such benefit is the ability to fund programs that provide support to the producers and their families. For the Sri Lankan women who make our Eco Max Brushes a primary concern is the care of their children while they are working. Funding a well-resourced creche for these women was a matter of ImportAnts and something we are very proud to announce.
A Mothers Work
Like all mothers, juggling work and young children is difficult, but in a county like Sri Lanka, that does not have formal child care and without family who are able to help out, this juggle can make work impossible.
So the perfect solution for working mothers is to have a workplace crèche where their young children are cared for and are still close enough to be near if their child needs them. For some time now this has been what we have been working towards.
WE ARE SO EXCITED TO
ANNOUNCE THE OPENING
OF OUR NEW CRÈCHE
A Space for a Crèche
Last year saw the completion of the new extension at the factory which provided much needed extra space. It also created a home for the crèche which would inhabit a newly vacated and renovated room upstairs. New bathrooms have been built and windows added to make an open, airy space. The early part of this year gave everyone time to settle into the new working space while a teacher was found to run the crèche.
We needed someone special. We wanted the crèche to also provide after school care for the women’s school age children and to help with their homework. School in Sri Lanka runs from 7am till 1pm and until now mothers either worked part time or the children joined them at the factory after school. The work place has always been a child friendly space, with art materials and toys to play with but we wanted a better purpose built area that the children could enjoy.
English is an important and valuable asset in Sri Lanka. Not only does it provides an entrance way for better employment opportunities, it is necessary for students to have good written and spoken English skills to gain admittance to University as well as for many tertiary education programs. Although English is taught in schools, at the local level it is not to a high standard. We want to give our women’s children the best opportunities we can and by improving their written and spoken English skills, open new doors for them.
The Perfect Teacher
In June our search was over and Shalini was found. Shalini is an English language teacher and being a single mother herself found balancing teaching with a young child an impossible task. Like our other mothers, being able to bring her young child to work with her made for the perfect work place for her needs and her skills where the perfect fit for the new crèche and after school care we wanted to offer.
Fair Trade Benefits
Now our mothers have the ability to work knowing that their pre-school age children are well cared for. They even get to see them throughout the day and all join together for lunch.
Our school age children now have help with their homework and are practicing their English language skills. We know that these things will give them a bright future.
Our next step is to provide more English reading books of varying levels for the children and thanks to donations from the wonderful Marrickville community I took some wonderful books to the crèche when I visit on the 15th of August. Later we would like to provide computers and to join our children with a sister school in Australia so the students can have computer pals and use their English skills to speak to other children in the world.
We want to thank all of our amazing retailers and customers for stocking, buying and promoting our Eco Max Brushes. For us this is a matter of ImportAnts and without your support all this would not be possible.
We can’t wait to give you updates on the new crèche and see these amazing women’s children grow and thrive in their new space.
Much love and thanks
Kim and the team at Import Ants