ECUADOR: Indigenous women artisans gain income
Training project focuses on giving women economic opportunities
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with Bosco Global have launched a project to provide 80 Indigenous artisan women in Ecuador with vocational training to improve artisanal processes, management and entrepreneurship. The women from the parishes of Salinas, Simiatug and Facundo Vela sell their products under the Warmi Ruray (Women who work) brand. The project received funding from Cabildo Gran Canaria in Spain.
A Salesian who runs the project said, “The objective is to help these artisans in the production and marketing of products to develop new income opportunities and improve the quality of life for Indigenous women in the area. Underlying the project are concepts such as group promotion, the sustainable use of natural resources and respect for the cultural identity of rural women’s organizations.”
Training sessions included the proper use of and responsible management of raw materials such as fibers, straw, and sheep and llama wool. Women created crafts to emphasize their cultural identity and showed innovation in their designs to make them more attractive to potential customers. One of the women said, “We are very proud to have developed a catalogue of handcrafted products with our brand.”
The women also participated in the production of jams. The project has helped make the packaging more visible and attractive, reduce production times and costs, and develop and incorporate a biosafety plan that guarantees compliance with manufacturing best practices throughout the production process.
The Salesian added, “The project promotes economic empowerment for people in situations of exclusion or vulnerability, with an approach based on rights and the practice of exercising citizenship with a high degree of social transformation as the recipients then pass on their knowledge to other women.”
Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20% of the population receives almost 50% of the national income, while the poorest 20% receives only 5%. According to the World Food Program, almost 26% of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31% in rural areas and 47% in Indigenous communities.
Salesians provide social development and educational programs across Ecuador to help poor youth gain an education and the skills for later employment. The skills they learn ensure they are able to care for themselves and their families while being contributing members of their communities.
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Salesian Missions – Ecuador
UNICEF – Ecuador