In El Café community, El Limón, María Julia Castillo elaborates delicious products (caramel, coconut sweets, fruit based desserts and marmalade). She sells them locally and to tourists on the way to El Limón waterfall. This way, she can make a living and support her family. Currently, María elaborates desserts with 9 to 10 fruits brought from nearby forests and agroforestry farms. She is a clear example of a vibrant hardworking women. Also, she is very aware of the need for ecosystem conservation to maintain her business. María Julia always welcomes her clients with a warmth mother’s embrace, commenting that she has always wanted to prepare more sweets to sell to everyone.
However, María did not have the means to preserve her products. For this reason, she could only prepare a small quantity, and was not able to receive as much fruit. Through Project support, she received tools and a commercial refrigerator to preserve her raw materials –forestry fruits- and her products. Her eyes sparkled along with her smile full of happiness and gratitude. After this intervention she could make the most of the large variety of locally available fruits.
Now María will count with a more resilient lifestyle and states euphorically spreading her arms to the sky: “God sees it and distributes it!” referring to the support she had received to boost her small business.
The Ecosystem based Risk Reduction in Coastal Areas of Samaná and La Altagracia Provinces of Dominican Republic –funded through Caribbean Biodiversity Fund’s Eba Facility- is promoting value aggregation initiatives in El Limón, Las Terrenas and Bayahibe communities. These initiatives encourage people to preserve and restore their environment in order to take advantage of the ecosystem services they offer.