The centers in Bolivia are dedicated to the support of women and children who are victims of violence - particularly widespread domestic violence. Many of these women are also living with HIV/AIDS, and have had to escape their homes or were thrown out by their husbands. The prevalence of abuse and machismo in their society, subjects many women to harsh conditions and feelings of low self-worth, threatening to trap them in a cycle of perpetual poverty.
Taller San José, Casa de la Mujer Sayariy Warmi
Many of the women at this center are skilled in working with silver and textiles, having learned these traditions as they were passed down through their families. They make beautiful scarves, shawls, and sweaters of blends of alpaca and sheep wool, as well as baby sweaters and afghans of acrylic. The intricate macramé along the edges of the shawls and scarves is hand-knotted by Quechua women. Though they are talented, many of them work with very primitive tools, while also taking care of their children. Despite the significant tourist market, it is incredibly difficult for them to receive a fair wage. They are very grateful to be able to market their work in other places through HandCrafting Justice.
Located in Santa Cruz, the name of this center is derived from Guaraní, an indigenous language, and means, “Rise up, woman.” Kuñatai Epua is a support center for women in the community, providing health and daycare services. These services enable the women there to work on income-generating projects spanning ceramics, fused glass, and textiles.
Each item is handmade. In the ceramics workshop, the women produce vases, dolls, ash trays, napkin holders, plates, and other home goods. In the sewing workshop, women use fabrics and yarns of 100% cotton to sew a wide variety of handbags, backpacks, carrying cases, cosmetic cases. They also embroider and paint unique designs on these items. To create beautiful glassware, they purchase glass in the market and draw shapes and designs on each piece. A local glasscutter cuts them, and then women paint them in the studio. Small pieces of glass are broken and placed on top, and then it’s baked at high temperatures to create the final fused product. Colorful and high-quality earrings, bracelets, pendants, ashtrays, and incense holders are made this way.