FAIR TRADE MANUFACTURING
Páramo’s partnership with the Miquelina Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia began in 1992. This partnership gives valuable opportunities for vulnerable people – women at risk of prostitution and drugs are offered training and employment, homes and childcare. Over 80% of Páramo’s annual production occurs at Miquelina, including all our Analogy waterproof garments. All garments manufactured at Miquelina now carry the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade label.
The Miquelina Foundation
In 1977, a Colombian nun, Esther Castaño Mejia set up a sewing workshop with a few second hand sewing machines to offer practical help to women rescued from the streets of Bogotá. The workshop provided training and experience, enabling women to apply for jobs in other factories, but at this stage was not a commercially viable manufacturer.
Páramo’s founder, Nick Brown, made contact with Miquelina in 1992, and since then Páramo and Miquelina have grown together – allowing Miquelina to help significant numbers of women and their families, and enabling Páramo to make high quality outdoor clothing.
With encouragement from Páramo, Miquelina incorporated as an independent charitable foundation in 1997 and in 2002 obtained ISO 9001 accreditation, a highly prestigious international standard recognising dedication to quality. In 2017, after 25 years of partnership, Miquelina attained guaranteed Fair Trade status from the World Fair Trade Organization which covers everything that they produce, a significant achievement. Read more here.
The profits of the factory are reinvested in equipment and significant donations are made to the other associated projects, including a housing cooperative, canteen, nursery school and training facilities. Miquelina has developed from a small section of a charity that survived on donations to an important source of employment and funding for community projects.
The Foundation provides employment and training for over 500 vulnerable women each year, who want to improve their lives. 130+ houses have been built, 200 under 5s attend the kindergarten and 300 children eat daily in the canteen.
A recently launched satellite project in Pereira City, 200km west of Bogotá, is extending Miquelina’s valuable work in a new location, once again making a significant ongoing contribution to an impoverished district.