The Pulsera Project employs nearly 200 artists with Fair Trade jobs and sells their artwork through schools in the U.S. Proceeds from the pulsera sales are then invested in many
programs that support the artists, their communities, and other organizations focused on enacting social change in Central America. Funds are especially invested in: Fair Trade, Education, Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability, Shelter Support, and Financial Empowerment programs.
Every pulsera purchase allows nearly 200 artists to continue working, and proceeds are continuously reinvested into buying more pulseras from the many groups that we work with. The Pulsera Project is a positive and uplifting alternative to the often exploitative conditions that many workers face in factories, farms, and "Zonas Francas" (what we consider "sweatshops"), so each purchase is a powerful investment in improving the quality of life for these artists.
The Pulsera Project is proud to adhere to all fair trade standards, encouraging the democratic organization of all artisans, working closely with the artisans to set the price of pulseras, following all child labor laws, respecting the environment, and maintaining safe and enjoyable working conditions for everyone involved in the project.
The Pulsera Project previously supported "United Students for Fair Trade," a national collective of students who advocated for a new type of economic system---one which empowers producers in developing nations so they can work towards economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Fair trade goods not only present opportunity for people in developing nations to sell their products, but just as importantly give U.S. consumers a window to support, experience, and learn from new cultures. The Pulsera Project sponsored USFT's 2012 National Convergence.
The Pulsera Project also carries a certification from the Fair Trade Federation as of April 2015.
All Pulsera Project artists are eligible for scholarships to study in the field of their choice. Some study English to prepare for jobs in the booming tourism industry, others attend technical schools to learn trade skills, and a few of the women have used the scholarship program to attend beauty schools. Education is the ultimate form of empowerment, and that is why a large portion of pulsera proceeds are used toward these scholarships.
The Pulsera Project has also donated over $10,000 to "La Esperanza Granada," a Nicaraguan-based organization that believes "in giving a hand up, not a handout." Focusing on children's education, their mission is to provide opportunities and resources for the long-term educational advancement and community development in economically poor areas of Nicaragua. The Pulsera Project funded the construction of Granada's first free Technical School, helping La Esperanza pay for teachers, supplies, and construction costs----the electrician and computer training classes here provide educational opportunities for kids who otherwise could never afford this instruction.
We also support La Esperanza's "Ayudante" program, which gives university scholarships to high school graduates under the condition that they perform 80 hours of service within their community each month--a total of 1,000 hours every year!! This program not only provides higher education, but also sets a role model for the young children in the schools and gives them hope as to what they may achieve in their own future. Ayudantes are expected to achieve good results in their chosen university courses and they write a monthly report to the Pulsera Project describing their progress. Our support for this program also helps provide monthly stipends to help cover their living costs and university fees.
The Pulsera Project recently made $70,000 avaialble to pulsera artists so that they could purchase land, buy materials for constructing a house, or make improvements to their existing living spaces. Until the launch of this program, many artists only had the option of renting their houses or living with their families. This program will dramatically change the lives of dozens of artsits and give them a solid living space where they can work and raise their families.
The Pulsera Project has invested in workers rights through its financial support of La Isla Foundation, an organization focused on addressing the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) epidemic among agricultural workers in Chichigalpa and throughout Central America.
La Isla Foundation was named after a community called La Isla de las Viudas, or "The Island of Widows." In this community and surrounding communities nearly all the men work at the "Ingenio San Antonio" sugar cane plantation, which produces biofuel, sugar, and rum. In their last prevalence study, 68% of the men in the 5 communities of Gunacastal Sur had CKD.
Two of three men in these communities are affected by this disease and lack adequate treatment, making the disease a death sentence. Further, these men are the breadwinners for their families, who then struggle in poverty and send the sons to follow in their father's footsteps, often suffering the same fate. La Isla Foundation advocates to improve their working conditions and facilitates research to find the cause of the CKD epidemic.
In addition to our financial support of their organization, we employ three former sugarcane workers with full time pulsera-making jobs, providing a life-saving alternative to the harsh work out in the sugar fields. Watch the short video to the right to see an interview with one of these workers and the impact it's had on his life.
To learn more about their work and projects, visit www.laislafoundation.org
The "Si a La Vida" youth shelter has been part of the Pulsera Project family almost since the very beginning. Their motto "from the world of the streets to a world of respect" embodies their overall mission of rescuing kids from a dangerous life on the streets and rehabilitating them in safe, supportive shelters.
As part of their arts & crafts program, many of the kids & teens at Si a La Vida learn to weave beautiful pulseras, and since 2009 the Pulsera Project has been buying pulseras from the teens who are 14 years or older (in compliance with International labor standards).
A substantial amount of money from pulsera sales has been donated to help sustain Si a La Vida's programs and infrastructure, including support for two dormitories that helped expand their capacity for introducing new kids into the shelter.
Visit www.asalv.org for more info about Si a La Vida.
Through its partnership with "The Solar Women of Totogalpa," the Pulsera Project financially supports progressive alternative energy programs in a small "off-the-grid" mountain community.
Solar Women of Totogalpa is a cooperative consisting of 19 women and 2 men that work in the promotion, production, and research of renewable energy while fostering the sustainable development of their families and their community.
They work to strengthen the self-esteem of the female members and create professional development opportunities that encourage leadership and community participation while raising awareness of the benefits of renewable energy and sustainability in both the national and international communities.
The Pulsera Project has donated money from pulsera sales to support their work and to encourage their progressive solar energy practices. The Totogalpa community is 100% off-the-grid and is powered completely by solar energy!
We also support an organic coffee cooperative in Matagalpa, Nicaragua called La Hermandad, whose motto is, "That which happens to the Earth also happens to the children of the Earth." Through a group called La BASE, we have made $5,000 in interest-free loans available to the cooperative for any upcoming projects they would like to fund. The repaid loans will go into La BASE's community fund to be used for more projects focused on social change.
You can learn more about these projects by visiting http://grupofenix.org/ and http://www.labase.org