In Honduras, coffee is produced by small, family-run farms. The average child over six years will help their parents at home or with simple on-farm work activities. This is integrated in the culture of families and particularly in rural communities that live off farms. Many parents believe this is a way of ingraining a good work ethic into their children and being a part of the family farm.
Having identified the challenges faced by farming communities in Honduras, we began working with World Vision, a US-based NGO that works to transform the lives of vulnerable children, and ADECAFEH, the Association of Coffee Exporters of Honduras. The aim of the project is to reduce child labour hours as much as possible within farming communities.
Working with our partners, JDE Peet’s is building centres to provide a safe place for children of the people who pick coffee during the harvest, which tends to take place during the school vacation. The centres are there to protect children from getting hurt, and allow them to just be children, freeing parents up to focus on a more efficient harvest, to improve their livelihoods.
The centres are open from 6am to 6pm and accept children from 2 months to 14 years old. The children receive care and food in an environment where they can learn and grow. Younger children (0-3 years old) are offered early years stimulation programs. Older children receive tutoring in maths, English, social studies and science. Through alliances with other institutions and universities, the children are also taught practical crafts they can use when they are older, such as gardening or making jewellery.