Many know that over 85% of flowers in the United States come from South America, more specifically from Ecuador and that this country is one of the biggest suppliers of roses in the world, but sadly, most are unfamiliar with the stories of the women that lie behind them. However, these sad stories are turning into happy ones with the way BeMyRose is taking action, getting involved, and transforming women’s lives every day. Few and far between are the flower farms that have interaction with their farmers and take their women workers into consideration, but BeMyRose is changing the game with its empowering Fairtrade projects.
In Ecuador, over 75% of flower farmers are women, and despite the fact that over recent years the growth and success of the Ecuadorian flower industry has led to more employment opportunities, most come from impoverished families and are confined to very poor living conditions.
Nearly 15% of these women are illiterate with little education and many have not even had the opportunity to finish school, due to being forced to work at a very young age to help support their families and contribute to the household income, resulting in many abandoning any thoughts of continuing their education due to severe limitations and lack of resources.
BeMyRose has invested money in developing programs which is giving women the opportunity to work, provide for their families, and at the same time continue their education in hopes for more opportunities and a brighter future, not just for them, but for their children as well.
Most of these women reside in poverty-stricken communities and are restricted to very poor living conditions, the vast majority living in small, run-down houses made of sod with broken windows, little to no furnishing, dusty, dirt floors, and tin roofs. No matter how big the family is, most are forced to live crowded in one-room houses without any proper commodities or sufficient personal space.
BeMyRose has taken action by developing programs such as the “Roofs for Homes” project in which houses and homes throughout the community are periodically analyzed with the purpose of remodeling, repairing, or even rebuilding, if necessary, so the families can live safely and more comfortably.
A large percentage of these women sadly suffer from abuse. Six out of ten female flower farmers in Ecuador have suffered from some form of gender violence and nearly 78% of girls suffer from abuse at home. Machismo has become a severe problem within these households and has unfortunately resulted in high rates of domestic and even sexual abuse. Sadly, a vast majority of these women don’t have the power or the necessary resources to stand up and fight against this.
In response to this, BeMyRose has developed programs that consist of coaching chats to equip women with this power and educate them in an effort to help them take a stand to overcome it. Theses coaching programs not only consist of domestic violence education, but also about drugs, alcohol, and other useful things that women need to be informed about in order to overcome problems such as this one in their everyday lives.
Health is also a concerning issues among female flower farmers in Ecuador. Most communities where flower farms are located do not have large supermarkets, so women do not normally have access to the foods that they, or their families need to nourish their bodies and maintain a balanced, healthy diet. There are limited to a small scale of basic foods that do not typically contain the nutrients or minerals they need to keep their bodies healthy and strong.
BeMyRose has responded to this by dedicating a part of its farmland to grow a vegetable garden which the farmers themselves cultivate. The produce of this garden is harvested and shared amongst all farmers. This provides 100% organic nutrition with the minerals and nutrients that the women are precisely lacking in their everyday diets.
BeMyRose is taking action, and little by little, changing the realities of theses women. However, this Women’s Day, Be my Rose should not be alone in this movement. After taking a step back and realizing all that these women go through on a daily basis to consistently provide us with some of the most beautiful flowers in the world, we too should take a stand and take the initiative to contribute to this movement in whatever way possible.
With BeMyRose, not only do you get world-premium, long-lasting flowers, but you get to see how 10% of your purchase is going towards projects like these and impacting farmer’s lives, one at a time. Being part of our movement is a lot easier than you might think!
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Great news everyone! A guest has contributed to our BeMyRose blog. Sarah Smith is a journalist, freelance writer, and mother of two. Let us know...