Our first stop is Jinotega, Nicaragua, known as the “City of Mist.” It sits in a valley surrounded by mountains producing 80 percent of the nation’s coffee. It’s a beautiful place – the people, especially the children, even more so.
I visit a school located on the Los Potrerillos coffee plantation. The school was built by the plantation’s owners so kids could get an education, instead of working in the fields alongside their parents. The children want to tell me about their experiences participating in the DOL-funded ENTERATE project. They tell their story through dance, theater, and song. I’m absolutely enchanted by the show. Afterwards, I talk to a few of them, who tell me of the big dreams they have for themselves – to go to college, to be a doctor or a newscaster. One young boy tells me confidently that he wants to someday be a radio DJ. As one of the masters of ceremony for the program, I see he is off to a great start already.
I also meet with local coffee producers who are committed to eliminating child labor and providing education for children whose parents live or work on their plantations. I’m told that 20 coffee producers in the region signed an agreement on June 12 of this year, on World Day Against Child Labor, affirming their commitments to combat child labor. In addition, they have agreed to share their experiences and best practices with other producers in Nicaragua. I’m also pleased to learn that these employers are committed to ensuring that adult workers receive respectable salaries and are provided with decent working conditions on their farms — the proper formula to reduce the need to put children to work. (Continued in Part 2)
- Part 1 – Monday, July 26: Jinotega, Nicaragua
- Part 2 – Tuesday, July 27: Managua, Nicaragua
- Part 3 – Wednesday, July 28: Managua, Nicaragua
- Part 4 – Thursday, July 29: San Salvador, El Salvador