Hearts of Hope
FMSC MarketPlace’s new partner, Hearts of Hope in Colombia, supports 50 women through their artisan program. These artisans, who are members of the indigenous Wayúu tribe, weave beautifully intricate mochila bags using vibrant cotton threads. Behind every bag, there is a history of ancestral tradition, hard work, and craftsmanship. The techniques have been used for centuries and are passed down from one generation of Wayúu women to the next.
The Wayúu inhabit the arid Guajira Peninsula straddling the Venezuela-Colombia border, on the Caribbean Sea coast. Two major rivers flow through this mostly harsh environment: the Rancheria River in Colombia and the El Limón River in Venezuela representing the main source of water, along with artificial ponds designed to hold rain water during the rainy season. They have a saying molded by the centuries of hardship they have endured: "It is only from strong sunlight and harsh rains, that a seed can sprout."
Meet the Artisans
Marian started learning about knitting when she was a little girl by watching her mother. In the Wayúu tribe, around the age of 12, young girls gain more extensive training during puberty. They are isolated for long periods of time and their mothers and grandmothers (the only people who can see them during this period) teach them sewing, weaving, cooking, and other useful skills.
Marian is now grown and lives with her husband and two children. She weaves beautiful mochila bags to earn money to send the little ones to school in a wagon that comes every day to pick them up, otherwise they have to walk three hours to go to school, which happens often when she has no money to pay. She makes sure she knits for full a week to make one mochila bag, which is enough money to pay the school transport and have a little extra to go to the market.