Las Galeras in Samaná received the TourCert seal of certification for destinations at the end of 2019, accompanied by their partner companies, which have obtained the TourCert Check.
Through this process, the understanding to conserve and protect the environment, the biodiversity of the place and also the population’s awarness of sustainability has been spread and established.
Some initiatives already existed according to pastor Mrs. De Los Santos. Years ago, she and her husband began teaching women handicrafts such as baking and sewing and they continue to offer such classes in their own home. and her husband many years ago. Each participant has to bring her own work material and has to contribute US$ 1.00 to help with the costs of the electricity bill.
Years later and with the support of other motivated and dynamic women, the idea of forming an assosication emerged.
„La Asociación de mujeres emprendedoras de Las Galeras“ (AMEGA) – in English – „The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Las Galeras“ was founded 12 years ago and received the support of the National Institute of Technical-Professional Formation (INFOTEP). After the successful completion of their courses the participants receive a certificate from this institution (INFOTEP). The equipment for their work (e.g. sewing machines, stoves with ovens), is donated to them.
The majority of the participants work and help support their families with the tasks they have learned, such as sewing, baking and cooking, cosmetics (manicure, pedicure, massage), crafts, carpentry and paperhanging. Others get taught refrigeration and electrical skills, occupations that are traditionally reserved for men in Las Galeras.
Through the church they obtain used clothing, which they convert into shopping bags and thus trying to avoid the use of plastic bags.
With regard to the ongoing Corona pandemic, the participants have recognized the need and sewed protective masks. These are donated to the fellow citizens of Las Galeras, thereby encouraging the wearing of masks.
The board members of the association are also participating in tourist activities, according to the diving instructor, Raquel Samboy. They show visitors the local gastronomy, for example, and thus achieve a cultural exchange. This interaction offers travelers the opportunity to get to know the culture and traditions in an authentic way.
The community of Rincón, located about 100 km from Las Galeras, is mainly dedicated to agriculture and permaculture. Orquidea Susana, a very engaged woman, is teaching the permaculture workshops there. She reported that many women in the community are involved in agriculture by tradition. They apply the principles of permaculture intuitively and live in harmony with nature, thereby causing very little negative impact on the environment. Permaculture is originally a sustainable concept for agriculture and horticulture based on mimicking natural ecosystems and cycles of the nature. The participants of the permaculture workshop successfully manage pig and chicken farms. Furthermore, they produce handicrafts, which they distribute or market, as fair trade is cultivated within their community and surpluses are distributed equally.
The women of the Rincón community are highly dedicated and have independently created small retail stores in order to achieve economic independence. They had been able to acquire the relevant know-how through the courses offered by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Las Galeras.
In addition to the Association of Women Entrepreneurs, other committed women also play a significant role in Las Galeras. There are, for example, women groups that have joined together to educate children or organize beach cleanings.
All the highly engaged women of Las Galeras contribute to sustainable development in the destination through their activities and learned skills. They form a community whose values are based on the conservation of ecosystems and the protection and promotion of biodiversity.
The TourCert certification should also lead to combining and uniting the activities of the dedicated women’s groups.