Greenola Style shared with us a story of one of their makers, Sonya:
“Sonya, from our Tikas Women’s Cooperative,Tikas, is one of our newest cooperatives that we helped form. We first met Sonya, her sister Vasilia, and Beatrice (all pictured in the team shot on the left, below) through a Catholic organization in Bolivia. At the time they were handcrafting greeting cards in which they sold in local communities without great success. After much relationship building and understanding their needs and personal goals, we learned that all their husbands work quite hard to support their families but were still struggling with the financial demands.
These three women needed to work, but were finding it hard to balance finding work and seeing their children off to school. In Bolivia children attend only a half day of school making it hard on caregivers to find profitable work. Also their schools are often many miles away and due to safety concerns the mothers take the public transportation and/or walk the many miles with their children.
Unfortunately the small profit from selling greeting cards was not enough. Upon scoping the raw material markets, GREENOLA learned that there is an abundance of raw seeds available. With that, we decided to create jewelry recycling these seeds into fashion forward designs. This process was also an easy skill to teach. Starting with these three women, we have been able to grow this project into a community project. Sonya, Vasilia, and Beatrice have welcomed their cousins, friends, and neighbors into the project and now help employ more than 20 women in their community. With this project, the women of the community in which they reside (Buena Vista) have pulled together to form a women’s group that comes together for much more than working on this project. They have gotten their community church involved, created programs for their children, rallied to have public transportation run to their community, and so much more.
Sonya is quite the woman. In addition to contributing financially to her household, she has taken on guardianship of her nephew raising him as her own. This last year we learned that she has been having stomach problems challenging her ability to eat, function, and live a healthy life. With our on the ground partner, SolidarityBridge.org we have been able to provide Sonya the healthcare she needs to work on this challenge and improve her quality of life.”
We are so excited to support organizations like Greenola who take the time to get to know their artisans, as well as makers like Sonya who are determined and hardworking. Over and over again we hear the stories and see the statistics that when women are employed the money that they make goes to support their families and then their communities. Sonya is one of thousands of stories of women who are changing their communities because of their employment!