It’s not just about great Colombian coffee. It’s about people. Half of the company’s profits support socially-inclusive and opportunity-enhancing projects around the world. Projects that seek to improve the quality of life of children and young people, empowering them through access to education, and skills training.
TECNOCENTRO - CALI, COLOMBIA
The Tecnocentro community college based in the heart of one of the most difficult neighbourhoods in the city of Cali, Potrero Grande, is a model of hope and exceptional effort against very strong odds. The area suffers from ‘invisible line’ syndrome, whereby different groups of young people band together to protect and enforce their geographical areas of ‘control’, punishing anyone from alternative groups and zones who deigns to cross over the ‘line’. This has lead to high rates of violence and insecurity in the area, stifling any kind of economic growth, or social cohesion.
Enter Tecnocentro. Funded from both private and public sectors, Tecnocentro offers children and young people the chance to learn something new, and/or improve on what they might already know. A real alternative. There are classes in dance, music, painting, wood and ceramic design, computing, English, Spanish, and much more. There is also help with applying for jobs and preparing for interviews. The overriding aim of Tecnocentro is to help prevent violence and foster a culture of peace and co-existence through access to educational, cultural, and income-generation programs for children, teenagers, and young adults. Cafe+ works with Tecnocentro to help better channel and fully utilize existing resources, as well as contributing directly with funds to improve and upgrade facilities. Helping the students to open up their worlds, literally, by providing maintenance grants for further and higher education.
Incolballet - Cali, colombia
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Founded 37 years ago, the institute’s mission is to further cultural and educational development in the arts and dance spaces across the whole of Colombia. For most of that time, Incolballet faced the challenges of the 65-year long guerilla war that uprooted and displaced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and villages, causing the huge and disorganized expansion of the principal cities.
The institute offers three art-based programs: Classical Ballet, National and Contemporary Dance, and Traditional and Folkloric Cultures.
Based in Cali, Colombia, Incolballet currently has 456 students, most of whom take advantage of the institute’s full, all-day educational program, that combines traditional subjects with ballet and dance programs.
Against the odds, the institute has produced some exceptional dancers, with many of them going on to dance internationally, in highly regarded companies, including the English National Ballet.
The Institute takes a large proportion of its students from the highly disadvantaged, low-income, or zero-income sections of society, who depend completely upon grants, scholarships and donations for their tuition fees and the purchase of clothing, shoes and other materials required for their school and dance activities. The Colombian government helps out where it can, with funding from the Ministry of Culture and from various regional bodies.
Cafe+ is working with Incolballet to better understand what they need. As a beginning, we are offering study and maintenance grants for pupils from the poorest families, as well as purchasing ballet shoes for those students unable to afford them. A good pair of ballet shoes can cost around US$ 150.00, which, with daily use, will only last for a maximum of three months. Without good shoes, dance performance suffers, and so, limits access to future opportunities.
COLEGIO ACADÉMICO - BUGA, COLOMBIA
The re-insertion of ex-child soldiers into mainstream society is not an easy task. At Colegio Académico, every effort is made to both rehabilitate and educate these vulnerable children. But, in an unstable environment, even something as simple as a square meal cannot be guaranteed. Hungry children find it diffcult to concentrate on their lessons. This makes them vulnerable to falling back into a life of crime, where violence appears to be a small price to pay in order to get fed. Cafe+ proceeds go towards providing a guaranteed meal for the students of Colegio Académico. The certainty of a meal helps to keep children focused and engaged with their lessons. It’s a big incentive to ensure that they stay in school, and well away from negative influences.
SMart network - London, UK
For 19 years, SMart has been empowering socially-marginalised young people in London, through creative activities. By nurturing the artistic talents of its members, SMart’s program re-engages them with the wider community, and is striving to end the stigma associated with mental illness and homelessness.
Café+ proceeds contribute to the funding of the centre, supporting gallery events, as well as helping SMart to be an effective support network for these vulnerable people as they build a new life for themselves.
JAIME BAUTISTA, the founder of Smart, was born in Colombia, an ex-student of Civil Engineering and a self-taught artist. Amongst working with conventional art mediums he has also developed a special technique for his models and pictures with a material normally associated with kindergarten use – Plasticine. Not only did he develop this technique in the artistic sense, he went further and at the Foundation Children’s Hospital for over a year and a half, he developed and applied a rehabilitation programme for children with learning difficulties, with excellent results. He also developed teaching programmes for able and disabled children and adults, which are still in use.