Expertly woven tight into seven unique bracelets, colorful waxed threads come together to celebrate the glory of Life. Based on a creation story shared below, the charms carried on these bracelets represent the Earth, sun, stars, water and air, plants and animals, people, and the love that connects them all together. Tiny beads of glass, metal, and ceramic are woven throughout, adding a bit of shine and extra color to the earthy-hued threads. Great on their own, worn together as a set they create a serious statement of connection and admiration.
Your purchase helps to empower and lift up women from rural and urban communities in Guatemala, a part of the world that many people call the "soul of the earth." Weaving jewelry gives these women a chance to earn a decent wage to provide their families with much-needed necessities.
- Set of 7 bracelets
- Waxed thread, glass, metal, & ceramic
- Includes backing card explaining the origin story & Wakami's social impact
- Includes both adjustable & fixed length bracelets
- Approximately 7" L (17.8 cm)
- Handmade in & fairly traded from Guatemala
This bracelet set is based on the following creation tale: When Earth was created, it felt cold and dark. To remedy this, a sun was attached. But when the Earth was resting it became dark again, so the Earth was given the stars to light up the night. Then the Earth began to get dry and breathless, so water and air were created. Although the Earth was beautiful, nothing would grow on it. It felt sterile and needed life. So the Earth was given trees and plants. While this made the Earth happier, it still felt that something was missing. For the Earth's pleasure, animals were created, animals that could live in the sea and on the land. Earth enjoyed this, but still felt it was lacking something and was in need of nurturing. So people were created. Now the Earth felt nearly complete, but there was no connection between the trees, plants, animals, people, sun, stars, water, wind, and the Earth. Then love was created, allowing everything to become one, to finally feel connected.
Wakami, a fair trade enterprise founded by Cornell University graduate Maria Pacheco, collaborates with five rural artisan groups throughout Guatemala. A strong focus on community development, social entrepreneurship, and fair wages has vastly improved the lives of its eighty women artisans and their families.
Before they joined Wakami, these artisans had no market outlet for their work and no way to generate income. Most live in very small villages where there are no jobs, and many were forced to leave their children behind to take work in larger cities. For them, the income generated by Wakami is a dream come true, an opportunity to keep their families together and to send their children to school for the first time.
Located in the tiny village of San Lorenzo Pastores, Concepcion became Wakami's first artisan group in 2006. Economic opportunities were slim in the village then, and an important nutrition program was coming to an end -- jeopardizing the very health of the children. Local moms came together to find a solution, and Concepcion was born. The group has become very successful making and selling jewelry, and their families' lives have improved markedly. Inspired by their success and eager to apply their new business skills, Concepcion has opened a bakery and convenience store. "It has taken a lot of effort to start a business, but now, everybody in the village admires us," says group member Matilde. "We have been able to start something, that today is small, but in the future is going to be something really big. We know we still have to make a lot of sacrifices and work hard, but we are happy, because we can see the results every day."
The Monte Redondo group resides in Guatemala's central area, about 20 km from Guatemala City. Despite their close proximity to a large urban area, the community was as isolated as any in the remotest jungle. Twenty women artisans now belong to the group, supplementing their husbands' meager incomes. Group leader Sandra Solares puts it this way: "Wakami is a dream come true for my community. I feel satisfied to be the bridge that makes it possible for women in my community to generate income; this not only makes them feel important, but also helps them provide a better life to their kids. For me, Wakami is the force that gives me the opportunity to keep studying my communication career at the university."
These artisans were trained under the former First Lady of Guatemala's "Creciendo Bien" project, a program that teaches jewelry-making skills to underprivileged women. The artisans had the skills to produce lovely pieces, but had no way to get their work to market. They became a Wakami group in 2006, producing some of the organization's earliest collections -- earning a substantial income for the first time. Now, Dona Adela, the leader of the group, conducts ongoing training workshops. Her attitude is an example of great leadership: "We are very excited because we have good benefits, that is why we enjoy producing so much, a little piece of our heart goes in every product: Because we feel happy to have a job!"
There really are 7 very different strands. They can be worn all together or mix & match. I don't think each strand is a large as the picture makes them look, but all together they are perfect.
Very gypsy boho like ~ the colors are lovely. Not only does it feed shelter animals, but it supports women industry in Guatemala. The all fit! THere are slider adjustments on some, the rest have a button and loop closure. I may buy another set!
I have bought this set many times. I love the designs and they last forever. If they go on sale I will buy a set so I can give single or double strands as gifts. Glad they benefit a good cause.