Besides being a social enterprise where teenagers earn money while learning, we have decided to expand the scope of our social impact to some of the retired ex-photographers, who leave the company at the age of 19. As of January 2014, both in Peru and India, FairMail’s daily management is in the hands of ex-photographers who have shown the desire and ability to grow professionally. A huge step for them to accept this new challenge and responsibility. And a huge challenge for us to decide to invest in training new managers internally instead of recruiting externally as FairMail did so far.
FairMail’s new policy to recruit new managers amongst the ex-teenagers has four big advantages:
Firstly it will help the selected ex-teenagers to grow professionally. For example in Peru the new managers are studying human resource management and to become a teacher. For both fields they will be able to practice part-time in FairMail what they learn at university in the meantime.
Secondly the new managers will be inspiring examples for the current teenagers of what you can achieve in life by working hard and being creative and responsible, even if you come from a difficult background.
Thirdly by working only with ex-teenagers we are sure to have managers on board who fully understand the essence of FairMail’s philosophy and who are happy to be able to give back to the organisation that helped them improve their lives.
Last but not least the money paid in wages by FairMail now ends up in the pockets of ex-teenagers who still really need the money. This way they are able to contribute directly to their family income or invest even more in their own education.
Apart from these four advantages our new policy also has risks. We have chosen to work with staff that has hardly any management experience. Running a business is a totally new experience for them which means a lot of time and effort has to be put in training them on the job. FairMail founders Peter and Janneke will be spending more of their time in Peru and India this year to give that training and guidance.