Unfortunately FairMail has had to decide to not continue with the photography classes in Morocco for the time being. This despite the great photographs being made, the very motivated and talented teenagers, the smooth cooperation with the local NGO’s and the great response by the local community. So why did we take this decision?
When we started FairMail in Morocco in October 2012 we were still not sure if the sale of FairMail pictures and cards would grow sufficiently the coming months to be able to sustainably finance the new operations, plus earn enough money to pay for the educational needs of the new teenagers. Positive minded as we are and with start-up money secured by winning the ASN World Prize we decided to try anyway. With hope for positive sales developments in the Netherlands, France, Germany and the UK. To be sure we wouldn’t create unrealistic expectations we explained to the teenagers that we would conduct a 2 month pilot project and evaluate in February 2013 if we could sustainably establish FairMail Morocco or not.
The development of sales, although still growing, did not grow as we expected. This put us in a dilemma: either continue with more teenagers from Morocco but diluting the earnings of the current teenagers in Peru and India or decide not to extend the cooperation with the new Moroccan teenagers so the teenagers in Peru and India would not see their income affected. In the end we choose for the second option as the “least bad option”. Mainly because due to FairMail some teenagers in Peru and India have just started expensive education. We would feel horrible if they wouldn’t be able to finish due to their funds running out, only because we felt the urge to “increase FairMail’s impact”. So instead of deciding to increase the quantity of FairMail’s impact to more teenagers we decided to secure the quality of FairMail’s impact to our current teenagers.
So what does this mean for the Moroccan teenagers? We told them last week and of course they were disappointed (but also happy with their first cards!). We told them they cannot submit new pictures to FairMail, but we will keep trying to sell the pictures they already made. Of course they will still receive 50% of the profits made. With no overhead office costs in Morocco we believe there will be nice profits for them. We have made arrangements that they can receive their share of the profits to spend on their education when they want to. And that we can keep control that they actually spend it on education like we promise on our cards.
All in all not a nice development at all and one of the sadder decisions we have had to make. We hope however that our current and future customers will make it possible to return to Morocco in the future and work with the great existing potential there!
FairMail founders Peter and Janneke will remain in Morocco until May 2013 to finish things off and run FairMail’s international office on-line. After that they will focus again on production in Peru, India and international sales.