The laundry cooperative – A functioning social economy

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Laundry Cooperative Argentina Laundry Cooperative Argentina Tess McArthur Dowty

In times of recession, when the economy is not creating sufficient jobs to sustain the entire population, the social economy often plays a significant role in ensuring workers can still find decent employment opportunities.

This is the case for one of the projects that Voluntario Global founded over 10 years ago, the laundry cooperative “Su lavandería”.

 The Argentine economy has deepen its recession since 2018 and the sky-high levels of inflation is not making it any easier for ordinary people to make a living. Wages have been eroded by the rise in prices and the shrinking economy makes it increasingly difficult to find stable employment. The laundry cooperative employs high school and university students from deprived neighbourhoods around Buenos Aires, each of them working a few hours a week. This employment provides them with sufficient funds to complete their studies, something which may not have been possible considering the precariousness of the Argentine employment market. The cooperative is entirely managed and sustained by the students who work there, thereby giving them the opportunity to be financially independent and to learn how to work in a team. Teamwork is the foundation of Su Lavandería, the workers demonstrate values of respect toward one another and work together to make decisions democratically.

In its early stages of development, the cooperative was dependent on financial support from Voluntario Global however, today it is completely self-sufficient. The cooperative now generates enough income to cover all its costs and a bit extra to account for physical capital depreciation of the washing machines. The aim of the cooperative is not to make a profit but to provide a stable income to the students, hence it is a great achievement that the cooperative can now sustain itself financially, all thanks to the youth that work there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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