CHILDREN aged 3 and 4 from day-care centers in Barangay Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet, were recently given immunization shots in a vaccination program under “Beans for the Little Ones”, an initiative by the Foundation for Sustainable Coffee Excellence (FSCE) and Henry & Sons, in partnership with the Vikings Group, creator of Vikings Luxury Buffet.
“The future of coffee lies in the hands of the coffee-farming children,” social entrepreneur, coffee explorer and innovator, and FSCE Director Michael Harris Conlin said.
The medical mission was held as FSCE’s way of ensuring the children of La Trinidad’s coffee-farming communities are kept in good health and in proper condition.
FSCE, a nonprofit organization, took on the challenge of bringing the Philippines back to the global coffee spotlight. “The Philippines used to be the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world, and today we are at around No. 110,” Conlin said.
“Beans for the Little Ones, an FSCE initiative, is part of a bigger plan to address the farmer’s needs in livelihood, equipment, potable water, education and health.”
The vaccination program brought together barangay officials and volunteers from the municipal health and child-development center to give out more than 180 flu vaccines to children from around nine day-care centers in Barangay Pico.
“Barangay Pico is really lucky to get this kind of attention,” La Trinidad Municipal Mayor Romeo Salda said. “It’s the first of its kind for an event centered on the health of the children to happen,” he added.
In an interview, the mayor underscored how crucial immunization is to help boost children’s immunity against diseases, especially now that the transitional weather looms.
“It’s a big help to the parents. Vaccines are something they can’t really afford,” barangay official Corazon Fianza said. “In our day-care centers, when we look at their children’s Early Childhood Care and Development records, most of the vaccines aren’t complete.”
“Regular vaccination is a child’s lifeline,” said head nurse Sharaine S. Mayomis, RN-NDP. Aside from the various sicknesses immunization helps keep at bay, she stated that cases of malnutrition and underweight children are also issues that, although can’t be avoided, should still be prevented.
“A big chunk of the concern related to our once lauded coffee trade is the lack of interest from future generations to carry on the craft,” Lim said. “This is why we’re here to work closely with the farmers. We decided to focus on key areas—and their future generation is part of that. With that said, we thought of starting a program dedicated solely on that aspect. That gave birth to the Beans for the Little Ones initiative.”
“The Vikings Group sails as one with Henry & Sons in caring for the health of the younger members of the coffee-farming communities of La Trinidad. We understand the value of inspiring the next generation and cultivating their interest in coffee while keeping their health a priority,” Vikings Group Marketing Director Donna Fernandez said.
FSCE’s partnership with Vikings entails a donation of P30 (for every purchase of Henry & Sons coffee) to be given back to beneficiaries of the Beans for the Little Ones initiative. The Beans for the Little Ones program also comes in a coffee blend made for the benefit of the kids of La Trinidad’s coffee-farming communities. Proceeds from the sale will help fund more vaccination programs and other related pursuits.
“Now more than ever, we have to start inspiring children by showing them that a decent livelihood can emerge out of coffee, so that in turn, we safeguard not only our coffee’s future, but that of our nation’s,” Lim said.