The Truth About Chocolate

The Truth About Chocolate

Everyone knows that chocolate comes at a price.

A Hershey bar can cost a couple dollars, a container of cocoa powder five dollars, and a bag of candy six dollars. No matter what kind of chocolate you want, you’re going to be handing over some money in payment for it. Sadly, in most cases, there’s another cost for the sweet taste of chocolate. The chocolate that we eat costs more than money, but most of the people supplying us with our favorite treat don’t like to tell us about this. 

More than 60% of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa’s west coast, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where many cocoa farmers live in poverty. They aren’t paid fairly for the cocoa that they produce, usually occurring in the supply chains of mass-producing companies such as Hershey. This poverty, as all poverty can, leads to human trafficking and child labor. 

The bottom line is this: The chocolate we normally consume comes to us at the cost of child labor and slavery. 

There are about 2.3 million children working on cocoa farms in Ghana and the Ivory Coast (Tulane University, 2015). Harvesting chocolate is no easy task, and 90% of these kids are being forced to work under illegal and dangerous conditions, such as using large machetes, lifting heavy loads, and being exposed to harmful chemicals. These children can’t go to school and are robbed of a future, further trapping them in the cycle of poverty and exploitation. In an interview with Dutch journalist Teun van de Keuken, four former child slaves describe being forced to work without being paid, not being allowed to see their families, and being threatened with beatings or death. 

Chocolate doesn’t seem quite so sweet anymore, now does it? 

Mass chocolate-producing companies such as Mars and Hershey are trying to responsibly source their cocoa. Hershey and Mars both aim to use 100% certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020. Nestlé is also trying to source its chocolate more ethically. Godiva, while not fair trade certified, does support industry and government efforts to identify and eliminate child slavery in the Ivory Coast, as well as requires their suppliers to follow labor laws and regulations. Ghirardelli, another big chocolate producer, did not respond to inquiries regarding child labor and human trafficking in their supply chain.

It’s good that these companies are trying, but in the meantime, something must be done.

Knowing the true price of a chocolate bar isn’t enough. We need to come together and change the chocolate industry by changing our demand. When the demand for a product changes, so will the supply. Commit to only eating Fair Trade certified, UTZ certified, Rainforest Alliance certified, or direct trade chocolate. These certifications and ways of sourcing cocoa do their best to ensure that farmers get paid fairly and no human trafficking or child labor is going on behind the scenes.

The second most important thing to be done, besides supporting ethically sourced chocolate, is to spread the word.

Many people don’t know the true price of the chocolate they enjoy. Telling others about the truth of the chocolate industry, about the human trafficking and child labor that occurs behind the scenes, and encouraging them to be responsible consumers can help change the chocolate industry, and therefore the lives of many people caught in slavery and forced labor.

Together, we can make the chocolate industry even sweeter for all of the right reasons.

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RAAKA // https://www.raakachocolate.com

TONY’S CHOCOLONELY // https://tonyschocolonely.com/us/en//

GREEN & BLACK’S // https://us.greenandblacks.com

NEWMAN’S OWN // https://www.newmansown.com/

CHOCOLOVE // https://www.chocolove.com

TCHO // https://tcho.com

GUITTARD // https://www.guittard.com

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N O T E :
This is a list of all of the sources I used while writing this post, including some correspondence with a few chocolate companies. I invite you to do your own investigation on this issue. And please do share what you find!

Black, Karen, Nestlé Brand Ambassador. “Regarding your Nestle Contact.” Received by Micaiah Saldaña, 16 January 2019.

Boyer, Chantal. “Inquiry to Guittard Chocolate.” Received by Micaiah Saldaña, 22 January 2019.

Harris, Alex and Brett. Start Here. Multnomah Books, 2010.

Maria, Hershey Consumer Representative. “A Message From the Hershey Company.” Received by Micaiah Saldaña, 16 January 2019.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery. “MARS Chocolate.” Received by Micaiah Saldaña, 17 January 2019.

Spencer, Godiva Customer Care Department. “[EXTERNAL]Inquiries on Fair Trade and Child Labor.” Received by Micaiah Saldaña, 15 January 2019.

“Buy Certified.” Stop the Traffik, https://www.stopthetraffik.org/campaign/chocolate/buy-certified/ Accessed 25 January 2019.

“Traffik-Free Chocolate.” Stop the Traffik, https://www.stopthetraffik.org/campaign/chocolate/ Accessed 25 January 2019.

“Former child slaves witnessing for Teun.” YouTube, uploaded by Tony’s Chocolonely, 6 April 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD7ePlz0awE

“Our Timeline.” Tony’s Chocolonely, https://tonyschocolonely.com/us/en/our-story/our-timeline Accessed 25 January 2019.

“Our Mission.” Tony’s Chocolonely. https://tonyschocolonely.com/us/en/our-story
Accessed 25 January 2019.

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IT’S INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY!

IT’S INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY!

It’s International Literacy Day today! Can you imagine not being able to read or write? I certainly can’t! Yet the sad reality is that millions of people in poverty are illiterate. Why is literacy so important? There are so many reasons that literacy is important, but I’m going to give you three.

For one, literacy is important because it helps people unlock their full potential. 

So many people are kept in the clutches of poverty simply because they cannot read or write. Without literacy, they cannot get better jobs to support themselves and their families. And without better jobs, many families find themselves unable to send their children to school, which contributes to the cycle of illiteracy. Literacy is important not only for individuals caught in this cycle, but also whole societies. 

Literacy helps people unlock their full potential and rise above this cycle. Let’s look at the United States for example. Back in the day, when colonists were coming from Europe to the New World, they put an emphasis on education for the common people. They broke the mold of illiteracy that had been the social norm in Europe. And guess what? America grew to be a strong, prosperous nation with many citizens that have made an impact on the world today. That’s the power of a good education, my friends.

Secondly, literacy is important because it brings joy and helps people dream

Can you imagine not being able to pick up a book and read? Not knowing how to write your own name? Looking at this blog post and wondering what in the world all of these letters meant? Think of all of the joy from reading and writing that would be taken away! Think of all of the places you wouldn’t visit through reading, the people you wouldn’t meet, the things you wouldn’t learn. Think of the dreams that wouldn’t be there… Imagine all of the kids who don’t have the joy and the dreams that we have all because they can’t read or write. It’s heartbreaking to me, an avid reader and writer. I have a hard time imagining this reality.

Not only that, but literacy helps decrease the risk of human trafficking and exploitation. Have you noticed something? Poverty is something that greatly contributes to illiteracy. But armed with literacy, people in poverty can rise above the risks that come from human trafficking and exploitation. They can better themselves with literacy, which in turn can help get them out of poverty. I could go on about this, friends.


That’s the power of words in a nutshell. So now what can we do? How can we help break the chains of illiteracy? For one, we can join together and pray. Pray that people all over the world will be able to gain literacy skills. Prayer is one of the most important things we can join together in.

Secondly, we can help break the cycle of poverty that also keeps people mired in illiteracy. Great Christian organizations such as Compassion International and Amazima Ministries help educate children not only to read and write, but also provide material needs (such as food and medical attention) and, most importantly, the Gospel. Supporting ministries such as these helps educate children and breaks this cycle of poverty and illiteracy.

These are just some of the ways we can break the cycle of illiteracy. Let’s go change the world, my friends. ❤

Below is a list of the sources I used while writing this blog post: 
Compassion International “International Literacy Day” https://www.compassion.com/world-days/international-literacy-day.htm
Compassion International “Effects of Poverty on Children” https://www.compassion.com/poverty/effects-of-poverty-on-children.htm 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you have any ideas as to how we can help stomp out illiteracy?   

Printable Letter Stationery For Your Sponsored Child

Hello, friends! I know, I know, WHERE WAS I WITH A POST LAST FRIDAY?!?! To be honest, I was preparing a post for Friday but got pretty lazy busy and never finished it. So now I’m here with an entirely NEW post about something that I’m really passionate about, along with some fun printables!

I’ve never talked about this before, but my family sponsors two kiddos through two different organizations. We sponsor a little boy named Simpson through Compassion International and a little girl named Yessica through World VisionI am proud to support both of these organizations and the work that Christ is doing through them. To learn more about Compassion International, click here. To learn more about World Vision, click here.

Both Compassion International and World Vision have great child sponsorship programs. I love being able to sponsor Simpson and Yessica! Child sponsorship not only provides the child being sponsored with things such as education, food, and the chance to hear the Gospel, but also an encouraging and life-changing relationship between the sponsor and child through letter-writing. The relationships built through the letter writing aspect of child sponsorship are truly special. Every time I receive a letter from Simpson or Yessica I get SO excited. I love hearing about their lives, their accomplishments, and their worlds.

Through the letters that I send to my sponsored kids, I try to encourage them and remind them of Christ’s love. I try to make the letters a little fun by sending along stickers, photographs, and coloring pages. I also like to use colorful stationery.

To make the letters that you send to your sponsored child a little more colorful, I’ve designed some printable stationery for you all to use! This stationery is designed with older sponsored kids in mind, but I’ll have some new letter stationery and/or templates for younger sponsored kids coming soon. There is a red, orange, yellow, and blue printable for boys and a pink, purple, and blue printable for girls.

TO PRNT: Click the little arrow in the top right hand corner of the widget below. Click the print icon on the upper right hand corner of the new page, then proceed to print. =) If you have any problems printing these, please let me know!

The Printable Letter Stationery 

I hope that you all enjoy using the stationery! =) Do you sponsor a child? If so, through what organization? What is a cause that you are passionate about? Let’s chat, friends!