The Oct. 18 Tribune prints an article stating that slavery is most frequent in Africa. Certainly, cocoa growing has contributed. Both slavery and worst forms of child labor, such as spraying trees with neurochemicals, are publicized every Valentines Day but then go forgotten.
I would like readers to know that my nonprofit, Project Hope and Fairness, does more than publicize the problem. This past summer, we built a rice hulling and chocolatemaking operation in Depa, Ivory Coast. Women in Depa and other cocoa farming villages grow, dry, hull and cook rice for their families daily. Men in these villages grow, ferment, dry and sell their beans for American and European chocolate.
Our plan is to develop chocolate-making in the village similar to grape growers who also make wine. The brand will be Chocolat des Villages. It is our hope that in the future, you will find our brand alongside the 2-foot-long Toblerones in airport shops.
Ultimately, as Vandana Sheeva aptly put it, if you want change, you have to dirty your hands. Join us and dirty your hands by becoming involved. Check out the Facebook page and website of Project Hope and Fairness.