There is no forced child labour in Baures, Bolivia – the home of Oialla’s Beniano cocoa. This is certified and an absolute prerequisite for Oialla to cooperate with local cocoa company, Sumar. The local children are offered free and compulsory primary school and are busy with their studies most of the year. The summer holidays coincide with harvest season and naturally the children help their families during this busy time. Oialla encourages that children participate in their families’ activities – giving a helping hand is important, in order for the families to earn a little extra cash. It is of course imperative, that children do not carry out dangerous or heavy work. The older children help around the house or take care of their younger siblings while the parents work.

The jungle is no place for children

The harvest takes place far from the village of Baures on small islets or “chocolatales” several hours away by boat and miles of hiking. The jungle is a dangerous place and not suitable for children. It is easy to get lost, and the jungle is home to dangerous animals, such as caimans, jaguars, anacondas, snakes and insects. The locals do not even consider sending their children into the jungle.


Watch The Shady Side of Chocolate – a film about child labour in the cocoa industry by Danish journalist Miki Mistrati


There is currently three schools in Baures and 700 of the 1,000 local children attend school. The rest are still too young for school and stay at home or attend kindergarten. There are two primary schools for children aged from 8 to 14 and a secondary school, that teaches children from the age of 14 to 18. Another secondary school is currently under construction.

The primary school is mandatory and free of charge. The secondary school is optional and has problems with high dropout rates – usually because the students are not motivated or their families need them to work. The ones who do finish secondary school continue their studies at universities in larger cities. There is also a night school for adults, where the students get a two-year education, which takes four years for younger students. There are currently 15 adults attending this school.

The well-developed school system means that there is virtually no illiteracy in Baures.