“Out of the desire to preserve the past and the need to write the future, an entrepreneurial project came to life to turn tradition into business.”
The project, named after the old celebration, wants to consolidate black cultural roots and improve the residents’ economic outlook by generating income and broadening opportunities for the women of Rasa.
They have joined forces and complementary talents to sew, paint, embroider and pack cloth dolls – women such as 28-year-old homemaker Cintia dos Santos Pereira, mother to Sarah (aged eight) and three-year-old Letícia. She became a member of the cooperative early this year and the job fits in with her daily routine of taking care of her home and family.
After dropping the youngest daughter at nursery, Cintia goes to the doll workshop with her mother and Sarah. Ten other women with similar stories meet there three mornings a week to begin sewing a different future. Little by little, the orders have come in and the dolls have gained fame.
“In the beginning, we faced some prejudice because of the color of the dolls, even here within the Rasa community. People could not understand why the dolls had to be black, as if they were completely unaware of our traditions. They are made in our image and mirror us. I feel proud of who I am, in the same way I want my daughters to be,” says Cintia, who intends to resume her psychology studies as soon as her daughters get a bit older and doll sales grow.
The Baptism of the Dolls project was selected by Enel with help from the Relationship Network, a company initiative that promotes regular dialogue with institutions and other local representatives from the communities in which the firm operates. Once they were nominated by Enel’s Relationship Network in Búzios as an example of local entrepreneurship, the women of Praia Rasa underwent a qualifying stage to receive investment through crowdfunding. For every Brazilian real raised through the crowdfunding tool, Enel also donated one real, doubling the total amount. After purchasing sewing machines and raw materials, the cooperative has already started to manufacture a large number of products to be sold at local fairs and events.