Glendy Fernández de Valle, 33 and her daughter Hazel Valle, 11, live in Altavista, San Martín, San Salvador, El Salvador, where they run their family cacao business called Tetonalli. Tetonalli means, in the Nahuatl language “A new beginning,” and it really was for Glendy and her husband, Juan Carlos Valle. Juan was deported from the U.S. in 2017 and started working with Catholic Relief Services’ Cacao Alliance project, which helped them with the technology to start the business and allowed the family to start a sustainable entrepreneurship.
Cacao Alliance provides assistance to approximately 6,500 small-scale farmers to help reactivate cacao production and exports in El Salvador that will increase incomes and jobs and reduce illegal immigration. “It’s a family business. My grandmother used to make traditional cacao and she helped me,” Glendy said. “I started looking for clients. It was difficult at first. But after my husband went to training from Cacao Alliance, it all changed. He became interested and started learning many things about cacao. I love it. Tetonalli means family for me, love, effort, union, it means we don’t have to be separated to get a better future for our family. We give thanks to Cacao Alliance because it changed our life. We have now a good and sustainable entrepreneurship. Opportunities are here, in our country with our own cacao producers,” she said.
At Luis Reynaldo Tobar Public High School the agriculture baccalaureate program has also been revived with the help of CRS and its partners. Students have been taught about coffee cupping, a tasting technique used to check the quality of a batch of coffee, and how to be skilled baristas.
Information provided by Catholic Relief Services.
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