Smart Children in the coffee sector visit Buencafé
Throughout this year, 420 children from all the country’s coffee regions arrived in the rural district (“vereda”) of Quiebra de Naranjal, in the municipality of Chinchiná, Caldas, to enjoy and be part of the program “Niños pilos” (smart children), an initiative of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC).
The kids, fourth- and fifth-graders, arrived in the Manuel Mejia Foundation (FMM) to later visit other organizations that are part of this great family, including the freeze-dried coffee factory Buencafé and the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé).
“The program’s fundamental aim is promoting generational integration, that is, that our children may recognize and value the countryside, and want to stay and work for it. This doesn’t mean they don’t have other dreams, but that these are in harmony with rural work”; said Olga Clemencia Parra, an education professional at the FMM.
During these three days, the children had the opportunity to take a magical and wonderful tour around the coffee world and institutions. With ludic activities and by using these smart children’s language, the knowledge manages to be transferred.
“They come from different educational institutions in the country’s coffee regions such as Caquetá, La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Chocó, and Nariño, among others. Most of them live in very remote farms or vulnerable sectors, so reaching a town or flying for the first time becomes an unforgettable adventure”; Parra noted.
Buencafé welcomes them with open arms
On the first tour day, the children visited Cenicafé, where they learned about all the research that is done for the benefit of coffee farmers. Then they went to Buencafé to learn about the freeze-drying process. “Here they knew how the work and family effort that begin in the coffee plantations continue their process at the plant, where all the transformation takes place, to then reach international markets. One of the things the children liked the most during their visit to Buencafé was when they were taught to prepare different recipes, such as ‘cold opera coffee’ & ‘Beautiful Antioquia’ all prepared with Buendía coffee”; said Elkin Humberto Montoya, a collaborator of the Manuel Mejía Foundation.
On the second day, the smart children visited the Coffee Park, where they learned through games, and on the third day the activities focused on the Manuel Mejia Foundation. There, through stations and a teaching methodology, they learned about the other entities that are part of the coffee institutions, such as Almacafé (logistic and quality control arm of the FNC) and the Coffee Growers Cooperatives.
“My parents are coffee farmers and they always tell me everything about the world of coffee, they know a lot and always take me to meetings and the coffee plantation, and I´’ve learned there. In Buencafé we were taught about the transformation process, since beans are picked from the coffee tree until they reach the cup we drink every day. When I grow up, I want to be researcher to help my community” ; said Darcy Tatiana Yela Melo, one of the girls who participated in this initiative.
The “Niños Pilos” program started in the mid of last year and has served 420 infants, and the subjects have been focused on good agricultural practices. This year the same number of children were served, chosen for their leadership capacity and love for the rural activity, whose prize was living an unforgettable adventure in the name of coffee so they can replicate this knowledge and love for coffee farming in their communities and families.