Fair Trade at Makaibari
At Makaibari, it is easy to see Fair Trade in action. A Joint Body of workers (an essential component of Fair Trade) meets monthly and prioritizes the numerous projects submitted by the general population. The Makaibari Joint Body has 15 members of whom nine are women, including the Administrator. After discussion and evaluation, it decides how to apportion funds and brings accounts up-to-date.
The Makaibari Joint Body performs many tasks:
- Develops sustainable agricultural skills
- Holds workshops on family welfare & planning, child care, nutrition & sanitation
- Develops social development skills such as animal husbandry and orchid cultivation
- Provides specialized medical help
- Promotes education
- Furthers grass roots entrepreneurial projects
JOINT BODY LOANS & PROJECTS AT MAKAIBARI
Over the past few years, hundreds of projects were approved and successfully implemented in both Makaibari and in neighboring areas. Applications are received every week and evaluated once monthly based on need, and then prioritized. The average loan is for a few hundred dollars but larger amounts are granted, when needed. The loan period is typically for 2 years at a maximum interest of 5% and repaid in 24 equal installments. Medical or educational assistance loans are interest-free. Remarkably, the failure rate is zero and not a single loan has been in default.
Projects have included the purchase of vaccines and specialized medical needs, livestock purchases, sanitation improvements, potable water deployment, social ceremonies, higher education, computer training and house improvements.
LEARNING CENTRE AT MAKAIBARI
A few years ago, a library was inaugurated with 1600 books with the help of the community and a couple of volunteers from the U.S. It follows all the principles of a good library - a card index system, books categorized properly, simple guidelines for all to follow and a couple of computers for both children and adults. The 2-storey building houses a child care creche on the bottom floor which makes this a comprehensive learning and care centre at the plantation.
The Rules of the Library are posted clearly for all to see:
- Library opens from 10 am to 5 pm.
- From 10 am to 12 noon, only children are allowed.
- 12 noon to 1 pm - Lunch Break.
- 1.00 pm to 5 pm - for students from Classes I - XII, youths and Senior Citizens.
- Lending and Borrowing Time: 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
- Books taken out are submitted within 10 days or else fines are charged at Rs. 1 per day.
- Please maintain discipline and follow the rules and regulations.
I was most impressed to see two full-time librarians at the learning centre and enthusiastic children poring over books and receiving assistance.