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Every day we make a hundred decisions about the things we consume: what clothes to buy and wear, where to eat, and where to meet our friends after work. We care about how things taste, how much they cost, how they make us look. These things matter but we’re beginning to realize they aren’t enough.
They aren't enough because the products we consume are often made halfway around the world, by people living very different lives than we do. While we’re agonizing over what to eat for dinner they may be going without dinner altogether. While we worry about our university exams they might have left primary school to go work in fields and factories. The price, the taste, the look: these aren’t good enough when the cost of our choices is that many are being left behind.
We’re starting with coffee because of all the products we consume and love it’s the one with the most vulnerable origins. We’re starting with coffee because the existing models - co-operatives, fair trade, and other certification programs - have failed to live up to their promise of transforming lives, communities, and countries. Coffee companies make record profits while the average coffee farm worker still barely makes a living wage. Starbucks is about to open its 25,000th store while the people who grow their coffee live in shacks without consistent access to electricity, water, or education. Sustainability, empathy, and necessity demand that we do better.
One of the questions we get most often is “Why preschools?” The answer can be found in our impact trade philosophy: because it's the single best investment you can make to support the long term transformation of vulnerable communities. Every dollar invested here yields over twelve in social returns: crime goes down, family income goes up, and kids stay in school for longer and achieve more. Getting kids on the right path in life can trigger an unstoppable cascade of positive changes over time.
Our Playcare is specifically designed for this delicate context. It's a quality Montessori preschool designed to provide the kind of education that we believe every child deserves. We invest in and train local women as school owners and guides who nurture local children to be self-confident, intelligent, and respectful. These are tools they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives; tools they can use to build a better future for themselves and their communities.
Through this program we just finished building our fourth school. Our goal is to build a thousand more in the next five years. Grab a box of coffee and join us in making the world a brighter place for those who need it most.