The women of the Wayúu indigenous community manage their periods by isolating at home. This project aims to build a new workshop provide materials and teach 16 women how to sew their own period underwear. This will generate a sustainable source of income for the community and give 174 women access to essential hygiene products. By donating to this campaign or buying our Wayúu products you too can help bring these women one step closer to our end goal of gender equality and freedom!
This project aims to create a workshop for the women of the Wayúu community, where they will learn how to sew and make menstrual underwear. This will allow these women to become micro-entrepreneurs, to take ownership of their own labour, and to begin to free themselves from the extreme poverty they currently face and that has worsened over the last year of the pandemic.
Not only will this initiative increase their income, but will also bring access to much needed sustainable and safe menstrual products. Reusable menstrual underwear are not only cost effective, but will also help these women reduce the environmental impact of their period and prevent health problems associated with use of disposable sanitary pads.
For most women in this community, buying disposable sanitary items is a luxury that they cannot afford. Instead they resort to inefficient pieces of fabric and choose stay at home throughout their cycle to avoid being seen with stained clothing. Access to period underwear will allow these women to live a normal life all year round, will promote gender and menstrual equality, and help these women to reach their full potential.
Yet this is not a problem unique to this community. In fact, you can't talk about global gender equality without talking about periods. For many women and girls around the world, traditional period products are too expensive and too difficult to find. We hope to use this project as a pilot together with Abury Foundation, that could be replicated around the globe.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
The goal of this project is to create a workshop in which 16 women of the Wayúu community will be taught how to sew reusable cloth menstrual underwear. These will then be handed out across five Wayúu communities, giving 174 women access to much needed period products. They will also sell the panties, generating another source of income, which will allow them improve their quality of life, shrink the gender gap, and reduce the environmental impact of disposable sanitary napkins.
The people of the sun, sand and wind, the Wayúu people are a traditional, indigenous community based in the la Guajira Peninsula, a desert region in the northeast of Colombia. Throughout history this tribe has battled Spanish conquistadors, modern Governments, and Mother Nature in order to keep their traditions alive.
This region has also struggled with a lack of economic resources and basic public services, which has produced high levels of social inequality and extreme poverty. The Wayúu people live in matriarchal communities which heavily rely on the trade of traditional craftwork. Yet this is not yet economically sustainable, as unfair local trade dynamics and an undervaluing of their work leaves them with little to no profits for economic growth. Here, weaving is not just a cultural practice handed down through generations of ancestors, but it is also the way in which they express themselves and tell their stories.
84% of the population live in poverty; 6 in 10 adults are illiterate; and some children are forced to walk up to 3 hours just to get to school. The community has the highest infant mortality rate of any region in the Colombia, with 34 deaths per 1,000 live births. Yet the absence of support and public funding from the state makes it incredibly difficult to better the situation and eliminate these social inequalities. Along with a lack of education schemes, the community is really limited by a shortage of job opportunities. Global warming has also increased the frequency and severity of the droughts faced by the tribes which threatens their crops and livestock.
The second phase of the initiative will see this project replicated around the world, particularly in indigenous communities across Africa. We hope to share our experiences and what we have learnt working with the Wayúu people in a manual that can be shared with other communities.
Why would you support this project?
By supporting this project you will: 1. Empower a group of women, helping them to become micro-entrepreneurs and to free themselves from extreme poverty. 2. Help the Wayúu women take back the dignity of their period. 3. Give women of this tribe access to reusable period underwear. 4. Reduce the ecological impact of disposable period products; an individual goes through approximately 11,000 disposable period products in their lifetime, with each pad taking over 500 years to decompose. 5. Help these women save money - menstrual underwear are much more cost-effective than disposable pads. 6. Reduce health problems caused by disposable pads and the toxic chemicals often used in their production. 7. Give these women the chance to reach their full potential, every day of the month. 8. Help this project to be replicated around the world, bringing economic opportunities and reusable menstrual products to communities across the globe. 9.Support a productive and sustainable project that is taking part in the fight for global gender equality. 10. Tackel finantial crisis due to the Pandemic.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
The money raised will allow us to acquire the sewing machines, equip the workshops and teach the women how to sew and make the underwear. A percentage of the money will also be used to support the construction of the workshop.
The money will be used the following ways:
Construction Center 56% Machines, materials and tools 28% Training 16%
Who are the people behind the project?
This initiative is led by the Hilo Sagrado Foundation and we are working in collaboration with Abury Foundaction, Caring for Colombia, Kora Mikino and Somos Martina.
Based both in Berlin and Bogotá, since 2013, Hilo Sagrado, has implemented a model of inclusive development which recognises the deep cultural legacy and value of artisan communities in Latin America, and which seeks to empower women with the tools that allow them to improve their quality of life. Through education, economic empowerment and sustainable development, their aim is for the communities that they work with to become self-sustainable, to provide women with the necessary tools to become micro-entrepreneurs, to take ownership of their own work, and to escape from extreme poverty.
Abury Foundation is a German foundation that aims to create opportunities for development and intercultural exchange - which helps to improve understanding between different cultures and communities.
We aim to achieve this by initiating and enabling numerous projects that are in line with the three causes that guide our work: children’s education, female empowerment and community development. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to take their future into their own hands. Success for us means making this possible and helping people reach their inner potential. We believe that education is the key that unlocks the door to success.
“Our goal is to create environments where potentials can unfold!”
Caring for Colombia is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization that builds bridges and mobilizes resources between U.S. donors and organizations to empower high-impact social projects in Colombia. Since 2003 we foster strong relationships with local leaders and institutions that inspire transformation in the most vulnerable communities.
We aim to be a home for Colombian residents and expats as well as anyone moved to help vulnerable communities in Colombia. We want to be a resource for donors to find the tools, the projects and the inspiration to give and become part of Colombia’s transformation.
Kora Mikino is a company that seeks to revolutionize women's menstrual care, eliminate the cultural taboos around menstruation and ‘free the natural flow of all stigmas’. They are striving for an emancipated, fair and sustainable flow for all, and to give people around the world access to menstrual products without polluting the environment or creating dependencies.
Somos Martina is a company that is bringing reusable menstrual underwear to the Latin American market. Based in Bogotá, they want to change the way the Colombian woman views her period. Through their social media platforms, they spread messages of menstrual education, the power of the female body, and self-love.