Sometimes it feels like you can do so little to improve lives of others. It is impossible to make big impacts in just a day. We have been working very hard during the last few years to improve lives of others. We want to see and feel the changes of our work. We want our artisans to be happy and we don’t want to see them struggle in sustaining themselves.
When can you say that you are really proud on the progress you have made? You set targets before you start and they grow with you. You want to do more, you want to move forward. Sometimes it is difficult to stand still and take a look at the progress. When we look back, now we realize we have done quite a bit already.
We have donated all the necessary materials to build the rooms. Together with the community members we built the rooms. Besides the positive impacts the rooms brought for the whole community, we had a lot of fun to build it!
Building rooms was one of our first projects. Most of our artisans live in an indigenous community in the Amazon region. Tourism is one of their most important sources of income. They didn’t have rooms where the tourist and volunteers could stay. Tourists that wanted to stay had to share a big room. Now tourists and volunteers can stay more comfortably in their own room. Due to these additional rooms the community is able to increase their income.
We have donated a laptop and learned some of the community members basic Excel skills. This made administrative tasks easier for them. Like us, the communities also have to declare their income taxes yearly.
Tools and materials are the first things you need when you start making jewelry. When you have to drill holes in the seeds you need specials tools. This also makes the work easier and faster. We took some community members to the north of Ecuador and bought materials that are difficult to find in the region where they live. Although most materials are coming from the Amazon region, it is still easier and cheaper to buy it in the north of the country.
Making jewelry isn’t easy. Most indigenous artisans make jewelry for ages. It is part of their culture. During the last years different jewelry techniques appear in Ecuador. To compete in the local market you have stay up to date. Learning advanced jewelry techniques requires 3 years of full time schooling. There are special intuitions in the region that teach the advance techniques. We couldn’t send all our artisans to the institute due to their personal situations and due to financial circumstances.
We found a local teacher that was able to travel to the community and teach them the techniques. The classes were open for everyone who was willing to learn and improve their life. We have financed the course and bought all the necessary materials for the applicants to complete the course.
With the income of our sales and donations we received we were able to buy school uniforms and supplies for some families that could not afford it. The families received the uniforms and all materials needed for the upcoming school year for their children.
This was one of the most fulfilling moments, not only the parents were happy but also the children. Nothing is more beautiful than giving!
Within the community where our artisans live, there is a store where they sell their handmade jewelry and accessories. They use white tape to put a price tag and a name on each item. At the end of the day when they needed to divide their income, many pieces of tape where gone or broken. Due to this simple issue, not all our artisans where able to receive the income from their sales.
We have designed and printed hangtags on recycled paper that they can attach to the jewelry. The hangtags give a small explanation about the community, and included a part on the bottom that can be teared off, which includes their names and prices. This was not only a simple solution in solving the income problem but also an added value for the jewelry.
If you haven’t been to Ecuador, it is difficult to understand where and how our artisans live. We have created a book that explains their lives but also gives attention to each artisan in particular. They deserve the attention for their beautiful creations. If you see their pictures and learn about their life, it will help you understand the situation where they live in and the reason why we are helping them.
Besides helping improve the lives of our artisans they improve our lives too! They have made an enormous impact on our lives and show us every time what the purpose of life is!
We want to be transparent and share this important information with you. So that you can see what we are doing and where your money is going. We do everything with love and hope to finish many more projects in the future. Thanks for your support!