Alida Strauss is General Manager of Heiveld Cooperative in South Africa.
Alida left her parent’s remote rooibos farm to attend school in Cape Town, 400 kilometres away. When she returned she got a job at the co-op as a bookkeeper, getting and promoted to General Manager in 2010.
Alida is passionate about her work and her community, and is determined to pass this on to young people.
“At Heiveld, we try to do things to keep people here, to make it exciting for them and give them the self-confidence to believe in themselves….Go get your education, but come back and do something for your community”.
Heiveld uses a portion of the Fairtrade Premium to enable young people to go to university. Alida holds talks at the local school and invites students on excursions to the cooperative.
The job is not without its challenges, but Alida is proud of what she and her colleagues have achieved.
“I’ve learned a lot and I am still learning,” she explains. “But it’s our job to educate people and tell them, ‘you have a right to have your say: it’s your cooperative. Be proud of what’s yours’.”
Alida’s story features on the centre spread of our 2013-14 Annual Report, released this week. Why not download the full report and discover more about Fairtrade farmers and workers worldwide?