The Maleku tribe is one of the smallest indigenous people groups in Latin America. Located in the mountains of central Costa Rica, they previously had a subsistence income from giving classes at hotels, crafting items from what the forest provides, and hosting tours at their remote village. They have been making teas from local plants for generations and we want to help them develop commercial teas so they won't have to be dependent exclusively on tourism.
In the past the Maleku people earned money by making simple crafts from the plants and trees found in the jungle where they lived and from giving tours to people who came to their villages. However, interest in their crafts has waned and there are fewer tourists who want to take the 3-5 hour ride to visit them. They need ways for their people to make money and not compromise the values and culture of their tribe.
The Maleku have a unique expertise in the plants of their jungle. They claim the jungle is their grocery store as well as their pharmacy. They have developed not only flavorful teas, but teas that have health benefits. Making commercial teas and dried herbs will allow them to remain on the their lands, use their special skills, and sell a useful product anywhere in the world. Teas typically have a 70% profit margin and with appropriate marketing will soon take them from the subsistence level
The Maleku tribe potentially can move from slowly decreasing population to one that can increase and survive. Their unique talents, world view, and culture will affect the world in a positive manner.
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