Social entrepreneurs

The cooperative was founded in March 1987 with the mission of generating conditions for its members, female residents of Rocinha, to work from home using traditional embroidery and craft techniques from northern Brazil, and thereby increase their family budget without neglecting their childcare or domestic duties. The cooperative creates pieces for the fashion and design sectors, and develops its own brand. The quality and uniqueness of Coopa Roca's artisanal work has earned a high reputation in the fashion & design sectors in Brazil and abroad. With the support of a marketing manager based in Brazil, Coopa-Roca reinforced its e-commerce strategy.

"30 years ago, when I was a student, I used to volunteer in the biggest slum area in Rio, la Rocinha: as an art educator, I developed a recycling project working with children. One day, I brought in scraps of fabric; the mother claimed "No! Don't give them to the children! It's too nice and they'll just tear it up!" At that moment, I thought and saw their potential and their cultural heritage crossing with the volume of textile refusals from the fashion segment in Rio: that's when my idea took form." Maria-Teresa Leal, Founder of Coopa-Roca.

Through building a sustainable business model for high-end and unique craftwork, through further expansion of market presence and innovation of its business model, Coopa Roca will provide expanded work opportunities for a greater number of female Artisans. This will allow COOPA-ROCA to have a deeper social impact in the favela community of Rocinha and become a national reference for social inclusion of low-income communities generating businesses that directly influences production.

COOPA-ROCA, a cooperative to give women from Rio's slum access to employment and emancipation
Start date:
June 2010
End date:
June 2011
Women artisans from la Rocinha slum