A graduation… a time to celebrate a student’s academic achievements, but today’s graduation at Tilimuqui Secondary School is a celebration for a whole village. It’s a major milestone for the community of the isolated village of Tilimuqui, located in a remote area of the La Rioja province, north-west Argentina, which has been completely changed thanks to Fairtrade.
Before 2012 there was no formal education available to the older children in this region. Proceeds from our Fairtrade Wine sales were invested in the village which is home to many of the vineyard employees, to build the secondary school, so local children could get an education past the age of 14. Today the first year of agricultural technicians will graduate with many pupils intending to continue on to further education.
La Riojana has worked with The Co-operative on this Fairtrade project to build Colegio Nacional Agrotecnico. It is a secondary school which specialises in agriculture and was the first pre-university technical college to be built in La Rioja province. It is also the first Fairtrade-funded secondary school ever built in Argentina, and is one of the single largest Fairtrade-funded projects in the world.
This is just one of the many projects funded by Co-op customers’ Fairtrade sales. The own-brand Fairtrade Argentine wines that have contributed to this and other projects in the village include:
Argentine Organic Malbec Reserve;
Argentine Pinot Grigio;
Argentine Torrontes-Chardonnay; and
Michael Gidney, Chief Executive from the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “The Co-operative’s long-standing commitment to Fairtrade wine has changed the lives of wine producers in South Africa and South America, by ensuring they earn a fair price and are supported to build a better, brighter future for their families and their communities. What’s more, the Co-operative has gone further, investing extra funds in its wine-growing communities to help build health clinics, provide access to clean water, enable children to go to school, and much more.”
Our support for Tilimuqui goes on as we present the community with a cheque for £40,000 on graduation day, topping up the Fairtrade premium as we have always done. This will go towards building a new medical centre for the village.