Project Piece of Heart charity. Cigar charities, quite a good number of cigar brands run or support a charity program. And there are a few distributors that either support or started charities as well. They are giving back to the community. Some are open about it, raising awareness while trying to raise funds. Others do it on the low as they are afraid it is seen as marketing.
Ministry of Cigars gives the actions of distributors, brands, and organizations a spotlight. The cigar industry needs positive stories, and we need to get the word out to the general public and politicians that there is no other industry that gives back to the community as much as the cigar industry does. Today’s special is the Piece of Heart program. It’s a collaboration between ADVentura Cigars and the Swiss CB Foundation
To understand this charity program, it’s important to know what the CB Foundation is. This Swiss NGO, a non-profit creates jobs for people with health impairments on a private-sector basis without state subsidies. The aim is to improve the lives and future prospects of such people through the provision of low-threshold forms of work and employment in the second labor market. This for an indefinite period of time and to enable them to lead a meaningful life. It also provides a fixed daily structure in the midst of our society. If the conditions allow, these programs, should enable the clients to return to the first labor market.
But The CB Foundation also realizes that preservation of sight is important. And that people on low incomes cannot afford a professional eye test or corrective glasses. In this area, practically no help is provided by social services. They support people in such an emergency situation. In close cooperation with qualified opticians, we provide these people with corrective glasses and related services free of charge. And it’s this knowledge and experience that is vital for the Project Piece of Heart charity.
Like so many countries in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is a low-wage country. This also affects the tabaqueros, whose wages barely cover basic needs. There is not enough money for further needs such as education, medicine, or corrective glasses for their children. Those who can’t see well do not learn anything. That’s why ADVentura teams up with the CB foundation to provide children with free corrective glasses. That helps those children to develop to their full potential. And to do so, ADVentura releases a cigar to fund the Project Piece of Heart Charity.
That cigar is the ADVentura Piece of Heart Short Belicoso. A Short Belicoso from Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic. The cigar uses filler from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. The filler is Indonesian. The wrapper is Connecticut Shade from Ecuador. From each cigar, 2 CHF goes straight into the Project Piece of Heart
The boots on the ground come from the NGO El Aposento. This charity is based in Tamboril, the Dominican capital of the tobacco industry. El Aposento serves the district of Tamboril in many ways through education, social work, such as working with youth groups, voluntary cleaning of certain areas of the district, work in the sports sector, etc., etc.
With the “Piece of Heart” – project El Aposento supports another project with a focus on the children of cigar manufacturers. The optician Dr. Marylin Paez is the heart and key person of the process. She owns an eye clinic in Tamboril. El Aposento reaches out to cigar factories and visits them. On-site, the owners of the cigar factories are informed about the work of the “Piece of Heart Organisation” and invited to participate.
El Aposento then schedules appointments with Doctor Paez. The visits take place once a week for a whole day. It is planned that around 30 children per month will be provided with glasses. Doctor Paez carries out an eye test and assesses whether the child needs glasses. If so, it takes about a week for the glasses to be delivered. The frames, the most expensive component of the glasses, are delivered from Switzerland.
This project shows that even small boutique brands can make a huge difference in economically poor countries, which all major cigar manufacturing countries are. It doesn’t take thousands of dollars to make a difference. The impact of Project Piece of Heart might be small on the large scale. But the impact is huge on the life of a child that can see clearly again and study again because of a new pair of glasses.
photo credit header photo by Kat Yukawa