In El Salvadore, CDF loans allowed the co-operatives to expand their agricultural practices and encouraged youth involvement in the production, processing and packaging of new crops of high potential.
In 2006, twelve employees and one delegate from Gay Lea Foods travelled to El Salvadore to work at three of the co-operatives that were being sponsored. Pleased by our visit, co-op members were surprised to see that we were there to work alongside them in the fields and orchards. We met some wonderful young people with amazing spirit. This is one of their stories:
San Rafael Tecuba
In San Rafael, Tacuba, 15 young people look after the citrus fruit orchard. They work tirelessly, knowing their efforts will enable them to pursue their studies beyond public school, which is the education most of their parents received.
The federal commission of micro and small business there takes a progressive view, that youth co-operatives are more beneficial for the participants, because young small business owners are more determined to succeed and more likely to take risks.
Joselyn Garcia, 17, used to spend most of her time with her mother buying and re-selling oranges at the local market in Ahuachapán. Now as she watches the orange and lime trees growing in the plot she has been assigned by the Gusamalut co-operative, she is happy. “I can hardly believe,” she says, “that what I pick is actually mine.” She has huge plans for the fruit she picks. She’s in her last year of high school and is already looking at studying business administration at university.