Child labor is widespread in the coffee cultivation industry.
Coffee is essential to Nicaragua. As the country’s third largest export, coffee employs 300,000 workers who produce 2.2 million sacks of coffee a year.
But children are expected to work the coffeelands to support their families. 1 out of every 2 children in Nicaragua works as a child laborer. And time they spend picking coffee beans is time away from a quality education.
Families working in rural coffee farms face many barriers.
Children harvest coffee so that their families can survive. The average family will pick beans all day and earn $3 for their efforts. Every hand is needed, forcing many children to work rather than learn.
Those children who can attend primary school discover that schools are hard to reach and lack the basic tools for a quality education. With the needs of their families outweighing the few benefits of an inadequate classroom, 3 out of 5 children in rural Nicaragua will not go beyond primary school.
Access to quality education can change this.
When the overwhelming majority of rural schools have inadequate facilities, unqualified teachers, no resources, and are dangerous for students to reach, financially struggling parents will choose for their children to work rather than learn. A reachable school with high quality educational standards is more likely to change a parent’s perspective on the value of education, and children are given what they need to end the cycle of poverty.
Carlos is 13 years old and only has a first grade education. He is not in school because the nearest school is too far to walk, and his family cannot afford the daily cost of transportation. A new school will let Carlos return to the classroom.
For children like him, Project Alianza is the difference between going to school or working on the farm.