The Guardian profiles FairMail, a social enterprise that works with at-risk teenagers in Peru and India to produce and sell Fair Trade greeting cards in the West. By providing teenagers with a free camera, photography training, and household medical insurance, FairMail uses the photos taken by teenagers to produce the greeting cards. The participants in turn, make 50% of the profit from the sale of the card. Through this initiative, FairMail seeks to contribute to the fight against poverty and child labour. The organization has generated over €225,000 through the work of 33 at-risk teenagers, in the past four years. It aims to expand to 100 photographers in the next five years, and to generate €1.1 million in local income.

FairMail is a social enterprise producing fair-trade greeting cards taken by at-risk teenagers in Peru and India

FairMail is a social enterprise producing fair-trade greeting cards. The pictures on the cards are taken by at-risk teenagers in Peru, India and soon Morocco. The teenagers receive 50% of the profit made on the sale of their own cards. FairMail provides the teenagers with a free camera, photography training, medical insurance for their families and guidance in making their own future plans.

FairMail as a social enterprise is tackling two social problems:

1) Economically deprived teenagers in developing countries are often forced into child labour to help supplement the family income. This is a huge problem as it keeps them out of school and in the vicious circle of poverty.

2) Currently the beauty present in developing countries is exploited mainly by western photographers who have the ability to sell images of this beauty in the west.

FairMail wants to fight poverty and child labour by enabling local people to commercialise their own local beauty (a free resource!) and earn a fair share of the profit being made. So they can break the chain of poverty and give their children a better life.

Over the past four years 33 at-risk teenagers have generated more then 225.000 euro in local income with the sale of their cards to finance their own education and the operation of the social enterprises they work for. Over the next five years we want to expand to 100 teenage photographers from five countries that generate 1.1 million euro in local income.

Our biggest threat for not fulfilling our dream is that our sales targets aren’t met. We can overcome this by investing Ben & Jerry’s prize money in effective PR and marketing and developing more web-based products with the teenager’s pictures.

Will you give us your vote and help us make our dream reality?

This is one of 25 semi-finalist profiles in the Join Our Core competition.

Content on this page is provided by Ben and Jerry’s, supporter of the Values-led business hub