Poverty in rural areas of Ecuador is silent and devastating. The people who populate the small Ecuadorian villages of Chimborazo are simple, supportive, largely indigenous, speaking mostly Quichua and very little Spanish.
In full contact with nature, and guardians of their traditions and customs, the indigenous population of Chimborazo suffer in silence their complete isolation from the country’s economic development.
They live at 3,800 meters above sea level in a remote area where they get little to no running water or access to medical care and education. They usually work from sunrise to sunset without tools or techniques. Their children follow this pattern due to a lack of education on account of remoteness and scarce economic means to pay for school and board somewhere less remote.
Milk producers fight against poverty
This is how a group of milk producers in Chimborazo live, and at CODESPA we have had the enormous privilege of knowing them and working alongside them. Tireless people who have never had the opportunity to change their destiny. They get up early in the cold mist of the sierra to milk their cows, two or three cows at the most, store the milk, tend their vegetables, and walk the milk into town. Day after day, this day is repeated, with the hope of not falling sick because of the lack of medical care.
At CODESPA we want to be the ones who, with your support, help them change their situation. We want to give them access to the necessary training and services to which they are entitled as fellow human beings. We want to help them increase their productivity so that their work and effort does not simply enable them to continue but to improve their lives. The first thing we do is to design a system that would prevent them from having to walk for hours carrying their milk to town. We also help them overcome a major obstacle: selling their milk before it goes bad, or selling it for a low price to not let it go to waste.
We arrange for trucks to collect the milk in the location where it is sourced. These trucks take the milk to the new cooperative that runs as a collaborative business. The objective is simple and complex at the same time: to organize themselves in a group in order to have more bargaining power and to be able to afford better storage for their milk.
In addition, we give them training in basic production techniques to improve their productivity and the quality of their milk. We offer them the possibility of accessing micro-credits, adapted to their needs, allowing them to buy the tools they need to be able to produce more and better milk and to get it to the right place at the right time.