DIVEMEX - Divemex Pimientos Selectos
One of Divemex's biggest premium projects is a scholarship fund for needy children. All though basic education is free in Mexico, associated costs for transportation, uniforms and books prevent many of the poorest children from being able to advance in school.
Impoverished children in the region are often members of families who work in agriculture. The average agricultural worker in northern Mexico makes an estimated $USD13 a day, and although this is twice the minimum wage in Mexico, the availability of work is not dependable and farmers often go through long periods of time without work.
Divemex is investing Fair Trade premiums first to improve education. The organization became North America’s first provider of Fair Trade Certified™ peppers, attaining the certification for 70 hectares of greenhouses in January 2011.
I see the future now. My one year old daughter will complete high school and hopefully go to college. Fair Trade certification creates a stronger commitment among us and helps us build a better tomorrow for our kids. ”
For me, it is a great honor to say on this day that we are delivering the first scholarship. This project has been a great success and we knew that the path would be long, but we finally arrived at our goal, and this has filled us with satisfaction. ”
Luis Antonio Fuentevilla, General Director
Easier Access to Higher Education
Divemex helps students pursue a higher education as well. Students wishing to earn a university or technical degree can apply for a $USD250 per semester scholarship to help cover costs. Students must maintain a B average and donate time tutoring other Divemex students to qualify for the scholarship. Students can also apply for help covering living expenses for up to $USD 400 per month if they need to go to school away from home to pursue a specialized degree.
Scholarships for Children
Divemex members formed a committee that brainstormed ways to use their Fair Trade premium. They democratically decided to use a portion of their premium on scholarships for the children in the community in need of financial aid.
Although public education in Mexico is free, the government does not fund transportation costs, uniforms, books and inscription fees. These obstacles keep some of the poorest children from being able to get an education past elementary school. Without the structure and opportunities school provides, children are often left vulnerable and are targeted for drug traffickers offering easy money.
Divemex offers $USD50 per month for students 11 years old and above that maintain a B average or higher to help cover associated school expenses. In exchange, scholarship recipients give back by doing community service.
Scholarships and Incentives to Complete Education
Divemex's scholarship program for adults applies to cooperative members and their family members aged 15 and older who want to complete their high school education. While the government does provide free education, this scholarships program provides the extra motivation and financial support for the working parents. The program also covers book and supply fees and gives each student a $USD 300 bonus on completion.