The chocolate that built a school

West Africa is a hot-spot for chocolate slavery. Children as young as 8 can be found putting in back-breaking days wielding sharp machetes or handling hazardous pesticides. Few children on chocolate farms attend school.

Where Divine’s cocoa is grown, things are different. The women who work with their supplier in Ghana, cocoa cooperative Kuapa Kokoo, care as much about investing in their communities as they do about the cocoa they produce. The extra income generated by fair trade operations benefits not just the farmers, but the area’s children, like Jennifer (below).

When Jennifer was younger, she had to make a difficult choice: to live with her family or to go to school. Even though the closest school was 2 hours away, education was important to Jennifer and her family, so she left home and attended school far away, knowing it was the only way to reach her dream of becoming a nurse.

Today, though, Jennifer no longer has to make that choice. Her area is home to Divine chocolate’s cocoa supplier Kuapa Kokoo. With fair trade premiums invested by the women of Kuapa, new schools have now been built in Jennifer’s village. She can live with her family again, as well as get the education she needs to become a nurse and care for people in her community.

* Story and photos courtesy of Divine chocolate.

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