The Faces of Villa Altagracia: The People Impacted by the Alta Gracia Factory


Guest blog post by Northeastern student, Kate Pipa on her visit to Villa Altagracia and the impact she saw the Alta Gracia factory have on the children and families she met.

One afternoon during the college student delegation visit to the Alta Gracia factory in January, a group of us traveled to a beautiful little park in Villa Altagracia to hear from the children of Alta Gracia workers. After a fun game of team tag, we all gathered in a circle and introduced ourselves.

The children ranged from roughly 8 years old to 20 or so and told us stories about how their lives have gotten better since their parents now work at Alta Gracia. It was great to see how the families are now able to afford to send their children to better schools, and even on to secondary education, now that there is more money in their family budget because Alta Gracia workers make a living wage. One daughter mentioned that before Alta Gracia was opened, her mother was forced to work long, late hours, and she would never see her, causing stress at home. Now workers have a solid schedule, with planned breaks and just compensation for overtime, and in turn are able to spend more time with their families.

Another important change was that in the past, personal aspirations were limited for the children. Now, goals and aspirations can flower. On a more personal note, this reminds me of my family. Both of my parents work in a union factory, where they collectively bargain for their rights at work. In turn, they, and myself, have benefits, a solid healthcare plan and they are able to help send my sister and I to college. It is interesting to think about what their workplace might be like if they didn’t have a union representing the rights of the workers.

Other benefits include families being able to pay off their debts. They are also able to spend more money within the local economy, renting out halls for birthday parties, buying from local restaurants and grocery stores. Workers can remain within Villa Altagracia with their families, instead of having to travel to larger cities like Santo Domingo to find work and then return home on the weekends. Some families are even able to save enough money to open up small businesses of their own, such as one family we visited with who now have a laundry mat they have been operating for about a year.

In closing, during the two years Alta Gracia has been open, one worker mentioned she can rely on a stable income, a safe and respectable work environment, in turn providing a better future for her family and children. I’m so proud to be a part of the Alta Gracia team and hope that people who read this will be inspired to get involved in the movement and support Alta Gracia apparel on their campus!


For opportunities to get more involved with the Alta Gracia check out:  

Like us on Facebook. Tag us and post photos of you and your friends sporting your Alta Gracia gear. Show your campus bookstore some love and post those photos on their page too.

Follow us on Twitter. Tweet about us, retweet us, and of course don’t forget to send some shout outs to your campus bookstore for carrying Alta Gracia.


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