ARTICLES AND FILMS ABOUT HOW WE RELATE TO THE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES WE FACE
CHOCOLATE AND CHILDREN
An initial prerequisite for cooperating with Sumar, that coordinate the harvest, was that the do not employ children in the harvesting of cocoa beans.
The harvesting of beans takes place far from the village of Baures on islets most often several hours by boat and miles of walking. The jungle is a dangerous place and not suitable for children. It is easy to get lost and there are dangerous animals, such as caiman, jaguars, anacondas, poisonous snakes and insects. Parents do not even consider sending their children out into the dense and dangerous jungle.
No illeteracy in Baures
The Children in Baures go to school. Therefore there is virtually no illiteracy in Baures. Parents do not even consider sending their children out into the dense and dangerous jungle.
About 3,000 people live in Baures. Approximately 1,000 of these are children under the age of 16. Around 700 of these attend school. The remaining 300 children are either so young that they remain at home with their mother or they are 4-5 years old and attend kindergarten, in preparation for school.
There are 3 schools in Baures. Two of the schools are primary schools for children aged from 8 to 14. The third school is a secondary school that teaches children from the age of 14 to 18. Another secondary school is under construction right now.
The primary school is compulsory and free. 150 students began secondary school four years ago yet only 33 finished. This relatively large drop-out rate is due to either the students not putting in an effort, or because their families need their help. The 33 who graduated this year (2010) continue on to university elsewhere in Bolivia.
There is also an evening school for adults – where they can take a two year education which normally takes four years for younger students. There are currently 15 adults attending this school.
The existing school system means that there is virtually no illiteracy in Baures.
Summer holiday coincides with cocoa harvest
The schools’ summer holidays coincide with harvest time and we have seen the children helping their parents in the forest close to the village.
As we do the Danish foreign minister condemn the systematic use of children in the harvesting as paid, cheap labour. However, it is regarded as a different matter that children participate in their families’ activities. It is of course important, that children carry out dangerous and heavy tasks.
We have not seen enforced paid children working in the jungle. We have seen a few children helping their family dividing cocoa fruits close to the village of Baures.