Zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte von Lemonaid & ChariTea e.V. konnten wir mit einer Praktikantin von einem unserer Projektpartner zusammenarbeiten. Möglich wurde dies durch die Unterstützung des Projekts „Plastik war gestern“ der Stadtteilschule Stellingen in Hamburg (siehe Bild oben, © Mauricio Bustamante). Das zweimonatige Praktikum von Lisvy Ramos – Studentin am Instituto Intercultural Ñöñho im Studiengang Solidarische Ökonomie – war für uns alle im Team eine wirklich intensive und interessante Erfahrung. Wir haben viel gelernt, zusammen gelacht und auch ein wenig geweint, als der Abschied näher kam. Wir möchten Euch hier einen kleinen Einblick geben, wie das Praktikum für Lisvy verlaufen ist.
„The idea of doing a professional internship in a social organization like Lemonaid & ChariTea seemed to me a dream and a great opportunity not only for me, but also for the Intercultural Institute Ñöñho. To know how the day-to-day life of a social organization is very different from the one we are used to in Mexico and it also has been very rewarding for my training as a student of solidarity economy, since we always see this type of organizations as a distant dream, on what social economies are working to achieve.
If I had to summarize what I have seen here, it would be something very similar to what we always reflect in the institute; „Buen vivir“ (Good living) and that is when we understand that what matters is not the product as a merchandise, but the effect produced with it, which makes the difference.
And without a doubt Lemonaid & Charitea is on that path of good living. In whatever direction one stops to observe there is harmony from the production with organic ingredients purchased in the framework of fair trade, the vision of a sustainable project with the environment, the conscious and responsible collaborators of the organization and especially the working conditions – that in my country sound very distant from reality.
The Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation is not just a job, or the distribution of money. The work of the Foundation goes much further, it is a way of living, thinking and feeling that is reflected in the commitment that the members of the Foundation have. It vibrates within the office in the many discussions that occur throughout the day to improve processes, to share interests in the issues that afflict the world, to share the philosophies of life, to continue with the mission with which the company was founded, the reflections that are produced are always aimed at improving and creating a way of working within the Foundation itself.
The Foundation has its own structure and criteria, a work that has developed with the growth of the company itself. Every member of the Foundation is building and orienting themselves towards a work in which they are more than being donors but are project collaborators and work in partnership with local organizations to address the multiple inequalities that exist in the project countries. The relationships that arise with the projects are human and close, the reports and requirements that are requested from the organizations are there to benefit their partners. In a way that the asked criteria are there so that the partner organizations can measure their own impact and consequently that finances are not at risk, that people who collaborate receive a fair payment, that the number of beneficiaries is reached and that the communities actually reach their independence.
It is not a Foundation that supervises to have an internal control of the organizations, it is very careful not to fall into paternalistic situations where organizations are told what they need or have to do in the place where they work. This awareness of respecting and encouraging local actors to find their own proposals for solving the problems they face, makes the big difference to this Foundation. What is in their hands is more than the possibility of supporting entrepreneurship, ecology or education projects in communities around the world.
What moves in this office resonates in seven countries of the world as hope, hope to continue preserving the many senses of life that exist in the world. Because with each community that resists, cultures are saved, ancestral wisdom and above all lives.
Living the experience of evaluating proposals during my internship was a sum of learning. I became involved in that part and saw the team getting really involved; researching, reading, deciphering what organizations try to say and do; which is a very complicated activity if we take into account that more than 100 proposals were received. To review each one of them is to travel to that country, to know the context in which one lives, the political and cultural circumstances in order to see the viability, the impact, and the necessity of the project.
Thanks to the Foundation team for letting me share this time with you in which I take great lessons from each of you. Beyond work, I take life lessons: From Aileen that concern, that commitment and that struggle for a fairer world, which is not a labor issue, but a way of being; from Paul I take that interest that he has to learn, the interest for what people have to say, from Hanna that attitude and virtue that she has to share with others what she knows.
And to all Lemonaiders, enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that everyone who comes to work in the offices or goes out to sell bottles is doing their part for a better world, because their work does not end in accounting, logistics, marketing, administration, human resources, purchasing processes. With your daily effort you contribute to a community like mine, to keep hope, survive and to stand.
Lisvy Ramos, April 2019