As I said, I always loved to help. For many years I worked with the Church as an apostolate with children and teenagers to protect them from the gangs (the maras). Basically the work with them consisted in occupational therapy and value formation. And since the family is decisive in the formation of the kids, I decided to involve the mothers as well in this job.
It was with these ladies and some other young women that I started making the handbags, so they could have an economic income selling them directly. With this in mind I contacted the designer Lula Mena who gave us a space to sell the bags in her store. The bags are also in our restaurant (the family business) and are sold by direct orders.
One thing led to another and soon after I had the chance to work in another apostolate in a rural area of the country. In El Salvador, as in other Latin American Countries, job opportunities outside urban areas are very scarce unless it is in agriculture.
My experience working with women from these rural areas has been very beautiful: they have learned something they have never done before, discovering her true talents, they have realized they have creativity and are capable of learning and making such beautiful bags, receiving an economic income for their work. I could assure you that their self-steem skyrocketed.
I would like to tell you the following anecdote: when I started teaching these women, many of them had never seen a crochet hook, they didn't know what it was for. And when I showed them the bag that they would do with me, they said, "I can't, it doesn't give me the head to learn." But they learned and when they made their first bag they admired their work and realized what they were capable of.
In our country, in addition to poverty, we have to fight against the serious flagellum of the maras, youth gangs that are killing our children and youth, turning them into drug addicts and criminals.
A local newspaper published a study carried out in 2019, by the International Labor Organization, and the National Association of Private Enterprise, in which it was concluded that children are recruited from the tender age of seven years old to enroll them in the maras . A sad and extremely painful reality.
In many of the Salvadoran homes, the woman is the head of the family, the father is absent, so that mothers must leave their children, often alone, without anyone taking care of them, to go to work in order to support their household.
Taking all of the above into account, I decided togive these women a chance, they are mostly from the rural area, and commission them to produce these elegant and modern bags. The work is done entirely from their homes, while taking close care of their children, thus preventing them from falling into the clutches of the gangs and crime.
The raw material used in the production of the bags are the bottoms and rings of used cans, helping to take care of our environment, since it takes ten years to degrade, according to EFIMARKET and Ecology Green.
By buying these beautiful products, you my dear friend, will look elegant and modern, and you will be helping in a responsible and sustainable way to dignify and empower the artisan work of Salvadoran women, giving them the opportunity to protect their children and, at the same time, work to leave our children and future generations a clean planet and a better world.
Sometimes we feel that what we do is just A drop in the sea, but the sea would be less If he lacks a drop.Mother Teresa of Calcutta