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Life before working with All Good looked very different for Raquel and her husband, Saul. They worked as conventional banana farmers, where they experienced a lot of uncertainty and a lack of security and stability in their lives.
Twenty-three years ago, Saul was asked to join Aso Guabo, a certified Fairtrade farmer-run cooperative with small scale banana farmers. Once they learnt what this career change would mean for their family, they jumped at the opportunity. Saul ensured that Raquel also had the opportunity to join Aso Guabo and was upskilled and trained just as he was. He was one of the farmers in charge of the farm and she worked alongside her husband, supporting their family. This lifestyle change meant that they were now earning a fair price for their Bananas, as well as receiving a Fairtrade Premium.
As well as the fair price for processing All Good boxes and the Fairtrade premium, what ultimately came out of this lifestyle change for Raquel and Saul was a sense of stability in their lives. They had sufficient stability in their work to put their children through secondary and university education. They were able to help their daughters succeed in their chosen careers, something they might not have been able to do in the past. One of their daughters is a commercial engineer, another is an economist and the youngest is still at high school. The family is thankful for the life they have created and at dinner times they always give thanks to All Good for they believe without them they wouldn't be where they are today.
Sadly, Raquel lost her husband Saul, nine months ago. It was a devastating loss for Raquel and their daughters to lose a husband and father. Raquel decided to continue working for Aso Guabo and stepped up into his role, where she is now one of the main producers in charge of the farm producing All Good Bananas. Even without her husband alongside her at work, Raquel feels very secure and comfortable in her role. She works with a lot of men, as a large percentage of banana farmers are men, but she feels that they are all part of a big family. She shows them respect and they show it back to her. As a collective, they have created a safe and enjoyable working environment where women have the same opportunities as men and are safe and respected.
Raquel will never forget the day her husband said to her ‘never leave the work with All Good and Aso Guabo, they will always keep prices stable and we will be able to help our family move forward in life’. International Women's day theme is ‘Each for Equal’, an equal world is an enabled world and collectively each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. Next time you pick up a bunch of All Good Bananas know that you are contributing to a gender-equal world.