Now I have higher self-esteem – Clorinda’s story
Vinos Lautaro and Fairtrade are changing the lives of Clorinda Retamal and his children. His two sons are the first members of his family to study at university, while Clorinda’s confidence has also grown – something that he values much more than the material benefits he has gained.
“We are very motivated to do things well because we have seen the benefits from how we have been living before and how we are living now.
“Until 1992 I did not have electricity in my house. I grew up in a poor family. Now I have electricity and I have things in my house to have a decent life – a fridge, television – and even more important, before we started I would not have had the courage to talk to visitors. I would have been too timid. Now I have higher self-esteem.”
First ones in my family to go to university
Clorinda described the ways that the Fairtrade premium is bringing benefits to Vinos Lautaro.
“The main uses for the Fairtrade premium are education, health and recreation. I have two children in university – Robert (26) and Kevin (18). The older one is in Santiago and the younger one in Curico. They are the first ones in my family to go to university.
“Without the help of the premium fund I would not have been able to send them to university. In the society there are seven other kids going to university and now there are another 10 that are just entering.
“The students that go to university receive a scholarship and the younger children, depending on their age, they are getting a little less. It is expensive even for younger children to go to school.
“The second benefit is health. We may use up to 1 million pesos a year for health. If someone gets sick with some kind of illness that needs a lot more money, the group evaluate it and if they feel it requires extra money, they give it.
“The third benefit is recreation. At the end of each year, all the members with their families go to a different place to stay for three or four days. The women also do not need to work, it is all-inclusive. Without this, we would normally work all year long.”
Vinos Lautaro was created in 1997 by 17 small-scale farmers. The members and their vineyards are based around the town of Sagrada Familia in Curico province. Parts of the vineyard are becoming organic which has a three-year transition period. This is very labour intensive as they need to cut down weeds instead of spraying them, so they are re-introducing the use of horses for ploughing between the vines.
During harvest time, 50 additional workers are hired as a group and they will harvest one vineyard and then move to the next. It provides them with about three months of work. According to the labour laws, they will only hire people who are 18 years or older.