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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
13 september 2008

Dutch-Peruvian FairMail extends a greeting to the east

In India FairMail will join forces with the Duniya Foundation, which has been active in Nagwa for many years. Besides a social centre and a medical clinic, Duniya also runs a crafts unit called Duniy Decorations. FairMail India will offer free photography training to the most motivated teenagers from the social centre. Some of them can expect to start receiving their first earnings from card sales next year, as FairMail hopes to present the first postcards printed in India in the new 2009-2010 catalogue.

FairMail is a company run by a Dutch couple producing fair-trade greeting cards, originally in Peru. The photos on FairMail cards are taken by underprivileged teenagers. The rear of every card shows a photo of the photographer’s face, along with their name and age. FairMail offers this youngster photography training, part-time work, medical insurance and guidance in making their future plans. The teenagers get 50 percent of the profits of the sale of their own cards to finance their housing and education. Over the whole of 2007, FairMails first full year in operation, the total financial benefits amounted to an average of 85 percent more then a living wage.  

FairMail’s Peruvian photographers formerly lived in a home for ex-street children or earned money by recycling garbage at a garbage dump. At the moment FairMail works with 10 youngsters in northern Peru.

FairMail’s message is simple: let the country that provides us with beautiful images benefit from the incomes created. Uniquely in a market where third world images tend to be made by western professionals and the cards are printed (mostly) in the USA and Europe, the FairMail card is a 100 percent Peruvian product.

FairMail complies with the most important conventions of the World Labour Organizations (WLO) with respect to exploitation of child labour, forced labour, equal rights and freedom to unionize etc. It pays more than a living wage to its employees and provides secondary labour benefits like health insurance for the teenagers and their families. FairMail has an internal environmental policy and working conditions are safe and hygienic. Since April this year FairMail Cards have been printed on FSC certified paper.

Between 10 and 24 September two of FairMails teenage photographers from Peru will be visiting the Netherlands to assist in a promotional campaign and conduct market research.

P+ webtip: Fairmail

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