The Pulsera Project began in 2009 when 13 friends were searching for adventure during winter break. We had been to Costa Rica in previous years (Costa Rica is just south of Nicaragua), but we suspected that Nicaragua could be a window to another world, one of profound natural beauty, famously friendly people, and deep economic poverty.
Everybody in our crew wanted to surf, hike, and explore the country, but we also wanted to help in any way we could, and experience the rich human culture normally hidden from tourists. Our Nicaraguan adventure soon became more than we had ever imagined when we discovered a group of young artisans on a farm in the foothills of Managua. We visited the farm many times and we were always welcomed like long-lost friends.
When the time came to return to the states, the youths gave us pulseras as going-away presents, and this is what inspired the founding of the Pulsera Project. When our group returned home, we brought with us lots of pulseras and the inspiring story behind the artwork. It wasn't long before students began selling pulseras in their schools and began writing their own chapter in what continues to be an amazing adventure.
The Pulsera Project has grown and changed a lot over the past few years. Today the project is a registered U.S. non-profit organization that supports many youths, but we now work with over 150 adult artists in regions all over Nicaragua, and now Guatemala as well. We partner with independent artists, families, cooperatives, and other established organizations in these two beautiful Central American countries to dramatically expand the market for their artwork while engaging U.S. students in international service learning through pulsera sales.
Since the sale of the first pulsera in 2009, the Pulsera Project and countless student volunteers across the U.S. have sold more than 1,000,000 pulseras in over 2,800 schools, raising more than $5,000,000.
What began in 2009 as a gift of a few pulseras, has grown into a rich exchange among many generous people. The Pulsera Project has truly been an adventure in coloring the world!