The Pulsera Project currently works with artisans in Guatemala and Nicaragua. Pulsera artists earn well-paying fair trade wages for their artwork, and proceeds from pulsera sales then return to support the artists and Central American communities. Please see the projects page for more on those programs, and the "get involved" page for info on selling these artists' pulseras in your school.
Artexco is an artisan cooperative with members from different parts of Guatemala. Its objective is to improve the living conditions of their members through training, technical assistance, and discovering markets for their gorgeous handicrafts.
The pulseras that they provide us are made by two groups of artisans, some located in the municipality of Zunil and others in the municipality of Jacaltenango, in the west of the country.
Waricha is a group of youths who create spaces to learn & share their knowledge about the problems that afflict Guatemalan youth. They are a cheerful and enthusiastic group who have found pulsera making to be a way to have fun, an excuse to get together, and a good opportunity to achieve a stable income to cover their school expenses. Waricha means "Our Rights" in Garífuna, one of the languages spoken in the Caribbean of Guatemala.
In the community of Pachitulul in Guatemala, on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlán, a group of Mayan-Cakchiquel men and women created this group a little over 20 years ago to study, reflect, and share ancestral knowledge & practices in agriculture, food and medicine. In addition to promoting this valuable work, IMAP coordinates a group of young people who make pulseras to earn income to help them pay expenses related to their university or technical studies.
Asomujerdi is a women's organization in the community of Racantacaj, in the municipality of Nahualá, in Guatemala. For more than ten years they have been working facilitating access to information and defending the rights of girls, adolescents and women in the community through the radio station “La Voz de Racantacaj.” As part of our joint work, they organized a group of young people who make pulseras that are true pieces of art and at the same time generate resources for themselves, their families and their communities.
For more than fifteen years, Adisa has worked towards expanded rights & labor inclusion of people with disabilities in their Guatemalan community. They have organized themselves to learn how to make various products and then market them and earn income for their families. The bracelets they make are very colorful, diverse and seem to reflect the wonderful environment in which they live, on the shores of Lake Atitlán.
For almost 40 years Cojolya has shared their fabrics and artisan products in Santiago de Atitlán, in Guatemala. They are an organization that works under Fair Trade standards, producing and marketing excellent quality products while sponsoring programs on health, education and recreation for artisans and their families. Cojolya in Mayan-Tz'utujil means “Between the Waters”, which refers to a small island where many women used to gather to weave many years ago.
Most of the multicolored cotton pulseras that the project buys are from Aj Quen, an organization located in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, but which brings together twelve groups of artisans from all over the country. Aj Quen, which in Kakchiquel means “The Weaver,” has been working with these groups for many years, offering them training, technical assistance and marketing opportunities at Fair Trade prices.
"MayaMam Weavers" is a women's cooperative located in Cajola Guatemala. They make stunning pulseras, headbands, and bags using an ancient looming process passed down to them from many generations ago.
For thousands of years, weaving has been a way for the Maya people to express their identity and love of beauty. It has been a way to relay their vision of the universe, earth, and humanity -- that everything is interconnected, all are different threads of the same fabric and that unity exists through diversity.
In the municipality of Chimaltenango and its surrounding areas, Asogen has organized a group of young women who make beautiful nylon bracelets for The Pulsera Project. The financial resources that these artisans obtain from the sale of bracelets are often used to pay for their technical or university studies and help with family expenses. Asogen also provides for women in their community legal assistance, psychological care, and training for these young women and other women who have directly or indirectly suffered some type of violence.
Rain Che is a group of young people from the municipality of San Pablo la Laguna, on the shores of Lake Atitlán. They work toward the holistic development of their community through sustainable agricultural practices, training, and the commercialization of artisanal products. Part of these artisans’ products are wool bracelets that they provide us every month and that reflect part of the traditions and beauties of this amazing area of Guatemala.
We work with a handful of independent artists in many regions throughout Nicaragua, who collectively make a huge array of pulsera styles, from technicolor snake-like patterns to classic leather designs and pre-tied assortments.
The independent artisans we work with are highly skilled craftspeople whose only barrier to success is the lack of a substantial market for their products in Nicaragua.
Over the years The Pulsera Project has worked with dozens of groups in Central America. Below are some of our prior partner groups whose products have made up the fabric of The Pulsera Project's fair trade artisan offerings for years.
The Pulsera Project also works with the "El Chile" weaving cooperative, located in the mountains of Nicaragua's Matagalpa region. Using a highly complex traditional looming process, the men and women of El Chile make incredible fabric patterns that are then sewn into purses, backpacks, laptop cases, and other spectacular designs.
The “Sanik” cooperative in Sololá is located a beautiful area in the highlands of Guatemala near Lake Atitlan. The Sanik women use the traditional art of back-strap weaving, which has been passed down through generations.
The name Sanik comes from the Maya Kaqchikel word for worker ants. The artisans chose the word Sanik because "on their own ants cannot accomplish much, but as a group they can accomplish great things."
These eleven women from the Peñas Blancas community make their bracelets from recycled magazines and locally sourced seeds. They live in a rural farming community at the base of the Bosawas Preserve, where there are limited employment opportunities for women.
Through recent workshops and training with the ArteSana Foundation they have learned to make ice-cream, skincare products, jewelry, and practice massage therapy. Their goal is to earn enough from their products to support their families
The artisan women of El Plomo is a group of four women from San Ramon, Matagalpa. They make bracelets, necklaces and earrings from natural seeds collected from trees in their community.
Matagalpa is a coffee region, and during harvesting season many women go out in the coffee fields to perform back breaking labor. Their collaboration with the Pulsera Project kept them in the community with their children, and provided a much better living where they can nurture a passion for their handicrafts.
The Pulsera Project worked with the "Si a La Vida" youth shelters in Nicaragua. Several of the older teens at these shelters make pulseras as an extension of their arts & crafts program. In addition to the money they earned from each pulsera, The Pulsera Project also donated funds from each SALV pulsera to assist in many of the shelter's operating expenses.
Artelares Zapatera is a women’s cooperative on the remote island of Zapatera in Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua). It is lush with tropical forest, sparcely inhabited, and most suitable for fishing and sustenance farming.
Most of the artisan women and their families arrived here in 90’s, after being displaced from their land in Northern Nicaragua. Nearly 15 years ago they organized and began weaving pulseras, garments and other textiles which they sell in Nicaragua and abroad.
Colectivo Chichigalpa is comprised of 30 artisans in the hot pacific lowland of Chinandega, an area know for sugar cane production and a recent epidemic of atypical chronic kidney desease (CKD). The group united to learn to weave pulseras as an alternative income to the unreliable and harsh conditions of working in the sugarcane fields.
For some artisans, who have already been diagnosed with CKD, it’s about the only job their health permits them to do and afford them the dignity to provide for their family.