Completely apolitical and non-denominational, Tio Antonio is dedicated to employing individuals with disabilities.
Support for Nicaragua – Giving Back
In Nicaragua, more than 90% of individuals with disabilities are unemployed. This is because most regions of the country, especially rural areas, still have a strong stigma around disabilities. As a consequence, these individuals are often completely excluded from the educational system as well as from employment opportunities.
Tio Antonio’s was founded to show that businesses which employed individuals with disabilities could be profitable. They also wanted to be an example for other businesses and eradicate any fears around hiring those with special needs. Additionally, Tio Antonio’s initiated a campaign to fight for the rights of these individuals, as it is impossible to create change for a group that has no visibility.
Tio Antonio first created Hamacas Tio Antonio, which has grown to employ thirty-eight people to craft products Nicaragua has long been known for: high quality, beautifully crafted hammocks. Not long after, Cafe de las Sonrisas was born–the first restaurant/cafe in Nicaragua run entirely by the deaf.
Lastly, a macrame workshop was started, aiming to provide meaningful employment opportunities for women in high-risk situations.
At present, Nicaragua is experiencing a 90% loss in tourism due to political instability. Tio Antonio’s continues to successfully employ a large team and pay them fair wages in order to create beautiful, unique, and long-lasting hammock and macrame products. Now, more than ever, they are grateful that exportation allows for the continued production and sale of these handmade goods.