In a new video by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the agency highlights the success of Dulce Esperanza, a chocolate producing group comprised of incarcerated women in the Quillabamba prison in Cuzco, Peru. NCBA CLUSA works with USAID and local partners to support Dulce Esperanza with financial education and training to become a cooperative business.
Most of the women in Dulce Esperanza come from poor communities and committed the crime of transporting cocaine from the countryside to the city—some unknowingly—and in general, in exchange for very little money. Many of them are now serving over 10-year sentences for their crimes. The women’s penitentiary in Quillabamba supported the inmates in starting the Dulce Esperanza group to produce chocolate and make handicrafts to generate income for their children while they are incarcerated. The women of Dulce Esperanza group have great potential to professionalize and expand their business but needed additional training, and this is where NCBA CLUSA’s Creating an Environment for Cooperative Expansion (CECE) project came in.