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 only 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 nobody cares if they get running water, if they have access to a doctor or medicine or school. Their lives are full of work from sunrise until sunset without tools and techniques to help them in their tasks, perpetuating their condition.
They only have their hands to work, their family members support each other and it is very difficult for their children to go to a school on account of both the distance and the integral role they play in their family’s subsistence survival.
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 milk into town. Day after day, this day is repeated, with the hope of not falling sick because, then, what will they do? Who will they go to?
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. At the same time, we also help them overcome another obstacle: they have to try to sell their milk as soon as possible, because otherwise will go bad and they will lose it – so they end up accepting very low prices out of desperation. We arrange for trucks go to collect the milk in the same place where they milk it. These trucks take the milk to the cooperative that we are helping them to establish and run 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, that allow 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.