For 11 years, Marisol Medina Camero has managed her family’s Colombian coffee farm in La Plata, Huila. She completes domestic tasks while also doing everything from picking coffee cherries, pulping and washing of beans, and preparing the coffee for sale to roasters. One of the founding members of Las Rosas, Medina Camero begins her day before the sun rises and works long after it has set. In that time, she feeds the chickens and dogs, milks cows, makes food, and completes a million small tasks related to the coffee.
While her labor may seem never-ending, she is proud to have used her business to benefit her family and improved their financial and societal situation.
“Thanks to the opportunities [the project] gives us through training and good prices, we have the opportunity that many people meet us and want to support us with better prices that we need for our families,” said Medina Camero.
Partnered with Pure Origin Coffee, Las Rosas has supported 300 Columbian women coffee growers since being founded in 2010. A portion of the proceeds from Pure Origin’s Columbian blend goes towards giving these women technical training in their craft. Furthermore, it helps sustain agricultural practices throughout the region, and ensuring equitable wages for their labor.
“Thanks to the project, we have a revolving credit fund, we sell coffee and receive a cash premium, and we have trainings in gender equity and women empowerment,” said Medina Camero. “We are leaders of our coffee companies and leaders of women in the region. We can tell the world how much we have grown, how much we are empowered [by our business], and how visible we are, thanks to the project.”
Supporting Her Family
Earning extra money means she can help her children pursue education. Additionally, she can attend vocational training in the field of coffee growing.
“Thanks to our commercial partners such as RGC and [the Cooperative of] Huila, we have the opportunity to give our children what we never had,” she said. “The most important desire we have is to give education to our children, so they can get what we couldn’t. This project has made our dreams come true.”
Medina Camero says her family is the most important thing in her life, followed by her personal fulfilment as a woman, and then her coffee enterprise.
“One of the best parts of this project is noticing my personal growth,” she said. “We must as a group show to the world [that] we have grown as women and as families. There has been 11 years of training, of being strong, resilient women. That is what we are still doing today.”
The Importance of Sustainable Coffee
However, ongoing funding is important to Las Rosas, as a lot of work remains to be done. When asked why people should consider buying a cup of her farm’s sustainable Colombian coffee, Medina Camero said that it is about more than the coffee. It is about improving lives.
“There are a lot of things here that we do every day with love,” she said. “All of this is done by the hands of women looking for a better future for their kids.”
Though the years haven’t been easy, Medina Camero is immensely proud of the strides she has made with her family. In addition, her work as a woman coffee grower has also made a huge impact on her life.
“For 11 years, we have built up the empowerment of women,” she said. “11 years of struggle, 11 years of training. 11 years where no matter how small the contribution is, it has made the association and women move forward. There have been setbacks, but we have managed to overcome them. We can show to the world what we have achieved. We can give them good quality coffee; that is what makes me happy.”
Pride in Her Work
Medina Camero adds that being a part of the project means, for her, love for her family, and love for what they do together.
“It makes us proud to show to the world what we have,” she said. “Women can do big things. People can know that in one part of the world, there are 300 women who are doing special things to offer a cup of coffee that customers can enjoy.”
You can support Medina Camero and Las Rosas by purchasing the Pure Origin Colombian coffee. A portion of every sale goes towards the philanthropic efforts in Colombia.
Medina Camero’s quotes were translated from her native Spanish.
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