Hirdaramani, Agalawatta, Sri Lanka

Fair Trade premium used for: day care, personal hygiene

Some 1,500 workers at this Hirdaramani factory in Sri Lanka received Fair Trade premiums in their first year of the Fair Trade program. They chose to use the money to open a free day care center and implement a health and hygiene program to help pay for sanitary napkins and undergarments. As part of the program, workers also received coupons to purchase various essentials just before their annual New Year’s festivities.

The new day care program allows new mothers and fathers to continue working instead of staying home, thereby improving their families’ financial prospects. The health program provides them a place, and resources, to talk about and address basic health and hygiene issues considered taboo in their culture. These changes have made a huge difference to workers’ physical and mental well-being, resulting in greater personal comfort and improved productivity.