In our earlier newsletter you read about FairMail’s impact expressed in numbers. And personal stories about FairMail’s impact on the lives of our current teenagers. But perhaps the most important is the life our former photographers are living years after leaving FairMail.
As this year FairMail is celebrating its 10th birthday we can now provide you with that insight, based on the stories of Pasquel and Mariluz. Both of them left FairMail over 5 years ago and are now leading an independent life as entrepreneurs.
Iconic fair trade image
Mariluz was one of FairMail’s first 6 teenage photographers way back in 2006. She was nearly 16 years old back then. We got to know her through ACJ, a local branch of the YMCA, working with families who make a living of recycling on the nearby garbage belt.
With this iconic FairMail picture of a butterfly in a flower, taken in front of her house, Mariluz showed us the potential of finding and commoditizing local beauty even in places where you would not expect it.
Mariluz’ bumpy road
Her FairMail career wasn’t the smoothest in the beginning. We even had to suspend her for a couple of months due to motivational problems. But she got the message and worked on her behavior. We gave her a second chance which she grabbed with both hands. This way becoming a valued team member until she retired in 2009 at the age of 19. Her mother being diagnosed with cancer didn’t help her to pursue her educational dreams. However in the end her mother recovered and Mariluz managed to finish studying to become a bank clerk with the 2.352 euro she earned from the sale of her cards.
The smallest soccer ball factory
Since she moved in with her boyfriend, she has combined studying with running a small soccer ball factory. Together with the rest of the family they can produce around 200 soccer balls a week. They even do personalized soccer balls like this ball Mariluz made especially for FairMail.
At the moment Mariluz is studying Marketing & International Business with which she hopes to help her soccer ball factory grow further.
Running away from home
Pasquel was one of FairMail’s second generation photographers who joined FairMail in 2009 at the age of 14. After school and during his holidays he worked on the rubbish dump, collecting cardboard and plastic to sell. His father lived and worked elsewhere.
At the age of 16 Pasquel left Trujillo and FairMail to search for his father. After finding him Pasquel stayed with his father and they worked in construction together for a couple of years in the jungle and we kind of lost touch of him.
Starting a family business
Until earlier this year when Pasquel called us. By now he was living with his girlfriend in the South of Peru. He wanted to quit his job in an agricultural processing plant and set up his own business trading livestock. His new girlfriend’s uncle was experienced in the business and wanted to help him. Together they made a plan for Pasquel’s business as this is one of the criteria if the teenagers want to use their FairMail earnings to invest in a business.
In the end the business plan was approved and Pasquel was able to withdraw the money from the sale of his cards which FairMail saved for him over the past few years. He invested this in purchasing 3 calves, their food and medicine. From the sale he has been able to reinvest in his business and he managed to make a profit.
Of course every teenager has a unique and personal story. What we can learn about the lives of Pasquel and Mariluz is the positive impact of finding a partner coming from a stable and welcoming family. Especially after the lives they have led as kids in broken families, these new surroundings provide them with needed support, advise and stability. Surroundings in which Pasquel and Mariluz are now able to make full use of the earnings and life lessons they learned in FairMail. Both of them remember the fun times when they were part of FairMail and often mention that they learned that you have to grab opportunities when they are presented to you in life.