Our burners, the ones who harvest the charcoal, are mainly migrant burners who return year after year to Namibia, living in the bush between March – September. They travel around vast tracts of untended farmland using iron kilns to turn FSC wood into charcoal. Their housing, through choice, is very basic but by teaming up with Traidcraft Rectella have been able to build and provide permanent shelters.
Johnny (pictured below centre) left Rwanda in 1995 [the year after the genocide] and made his way to Namibia where he has refugee status. He lives on the camp with his girlfriend of three years and their fourteen month old baby daughter. They have had the new metal house since the baby was born and Johnny has been working on the farm for three years.
… through fairly traded schemes has allowed investment into the communities who live in and around our factory. 300 bikes have been purchased for the workers to enhance the safety and ease of their journey from the local township. Investment also allows bikes to be mended and bicycle lessons to be offered to those who cannot ride.
Help through learning...
… A school with classroom, teacher and computers has been provided for the children of our factory workers. The classroom is also used as a training centre and kindergarten room.
“We love writing and drawing and reading in our classroom. We learn to do maths and read stories. Without our classroom we would have nowhere to do our homework. Our teacher also taught us how to knit!”
What the future holds
There is hope and persistence to invest in additional land, where retirement housing can be built. Bricks can be manufactured at our charcoal production site and reassures for our business that employees can be looked after once they are no longer in a position to work (at retirement age).