Information about Community Taboquinhas
Directly impacted families:
Project description of Community Taboquinhas
The local people in Taboquinhas, a rural community in the state of Bahia in Brazil, are cocoa farmers. Working together, they have found strategies for economic growth despite the low prices paid for their crops. An association of organizations called ASTATURC has found opportunities through tourism. Pioneering activities such as making straws through the bamboo plants native to the area and welcoming travelers into their community to learn about the chocolate-making process have provided alternative forms of income and improved quality of life.
Visitors are able to learn about the process of making chocolate from the initial cocoa harvest to the final sweets that they can take away as a souvenir. While spending time on a traditional farm, they get an intimate look at rural life and get to know the people of Taboquinhas, having lunch at a family home and trying local produce. A hands-on activity like this creates a unique and unforgettable travel experience.
Involvement of VSocial in Community Taboquinhas
VSocial has supported this project since 2015. We were involved in the financing and construction of the headquarters which now houses ASTATURC and has been the meeting point for social gatherings in the community. We have also provided training, workshops, and cultural and educational activities for children and young people. Along with donations of more than €15,000, we have brought Viventura tour groups to Taboquinhas since 2016.
Directly impacted families:
Impact of Community Taboquinhas
Thirteen families have directly benefited from this project. Most own farms and have been able to use tourism to diversify their income and provide more opportunities for their children. This impact extends to around 130 people. Along with training and networking possibilities, the entire community has benefited from the meeting space of the headquarters that VSocial built.
Story about Community Taboquinhas
Carlos Alberto is a farmer living in Taboquinhas, Brazil. He comes from a family that for generations has been dedicated to the cultivation of cocoa. He was literally born among the crops and from a very young age learned all the secrets that his family had about cocoa. He has dedicated his life to carrying on the family tradition.
Carlos has lived through many crises in his life. In the 1980s, a plague decimated all the cocoa crops in the region. Then, in the 2000s, cocoa prices dropped suddenly and it was no longer the business it was in the past. Since that time, he has tried to generate new economic alternatives. Ativa Adventures, a local agency, had the idea of setting up a cocoa route where tourists could experience making their own chocolate.
For Carlos and his family of six children, the arrival of tourists to the cocoa plantation opened up opportunities and gave them the feeling that the work they were doing was important. Together with other farmers, ASTATURC, a nonprofit that organized farmers also working with tourism, was formed.
The pandemic was one of the biggest crises Carlos had to go through. Neither cocoa nor tourism generated any income. ASTATURC was the only source of help for his family and many others who also received help from the association and groups like the VSocial Foundation.
Carlos considers himself a brave man, as well as strong from all the work he has always done in the field. Now he feels strength from working for others, not only his family but for the whole community. That is why he decided to become a partner of the association. He says that when the whole community is healthy, he knows his family will be as well. His perception has changed to one that thinks of the collective, rather than only his individual needs. His challenge is getting other local farmers to think the same way.
He knows the difficulty because he also was once skeptical about projects like this. He was insecure about the idea of having tourists visit the farm and didn’t think he had any special knowledge. Only after he began to welcome tourists did he realize that, although he did not go to university, he has important knowledge to share. Many years of farming have made him an expert. Insecurity and skepticism have been replaced with confidence and a new type of strength. With the help of VSocial and the regular support of ASTATURC, the people of Taboquinhas can now think ahead to long-term projects. Carlos is now a leader in his community, and an example for many in the region.