ALBERT AND MAGDALENA
Albert and Magdalena Espin started as tagua jewelry artisans about 17 years ago. They met at a button factory and from there they moved to the coast to sell tagua adornments to tourists on the beach. Now living In Quito, they have their own tagua workshop where they focus on producing high quality goods and maintaining a tight-knit group of workers.
Albert and Magdalena emphasize the importance of education to their children Mauricio, Fernando and Diana. Albert went back to finish high school a few years ago and Magdalena has recently started studying again in hopes of getting her degree also. Their dreams include good health, love within their family and to have a strong household for the children. Magdalena says that “my dream is to ask for good health, love within our family, and to have a house together for the children.”
Ben Ncube started B & B Craft & Recycling as an individual artisan working in the new South African tradition of making crafts from recycled materials, such as tin cans and discarded wire and incorporating beads in his designs. As the demand for the products he made grew, Ben, “the Can Man” started training apprentices in the art form, paying them a fair price for the products they produced. The training and production provides a sustainable income for a growing number of young people in Cape Town.
CARLO AND EUGENE
We met Carlo Brutus and Eugene Jacques, two of the many artisans in Croix des Bouquets, an area of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti known for artisans who make oil drum art. The constant hammering from the sheds in the area led us to beautiful metalwork, with each stop offering new designs.
Eugene’s shed was tucked behind several others and yielded unique three-dimensional masks with cogs and bicycle chains for earrings. Each piece is a work of art and signed with “Eugene”. Carlo has what seemed like hundreds of different design of the ubiquitous round steel drum artwork hanging from every inch of wall space in his tiny warehouse.
The Diaspora of Haitians has spread the designs and skills of Oil Drum art throughout the Caribbean but the art is truly Haitian. Old oil drums are no longer readily available and are imported into Haiti by container and sold to the artisans. Even though cheaper, more readily available steel sheets could be used, artisans rely on the used drums for the patina in their art.
Wasim was born and raised in Sanganer village, in west Rajasthan, India. His family has been in the paper making industry for over 80 years, and he inherited the art from his elders. Made from recycled cotton rags, the raw paper is then converted into beautiful products such as journals, albums and other types of social stationery without the aid of heavy machinery.
Wasim’s workmanship is excellent and he earns a lot of respect in the community for his art. He mentions that it is hard work, but he enjoys the satisfaction of creating something so beautiful and the opportunity to express himself creatively. He hopes that this art stays alive in times to come.
After the paper is created and the journals put together, our artisans embellish them in one of two ways. One way is through hand embroidery. The covers of many journals, as well as entire sheets of paper, paper bags, paper boxes and other stationery, can be embellished with embroidered patterns. Our artisans are very skilled and can create almost any design. Most of their work involves floral motifs. They set their own quality-control goals, making sure all the embroidery looks flawless.
Sushma lives in New Delhi, India with her husband and two young sons. She had to leave school early due to distance and family illness. She learned about Tara Projects 5 years ago and began working there, immediately receiving a fair wage and steady employment. Sushma works 5-6 hours a day and supplements her husband’s income to sustain their family. She pays for her children’s school fees, food, and clothing.
“I am happy that I do not have to earn this money by spending many hours laboring in a factory. We do not have to borrow money from the money lender. I am thankful that Tara Projects and WorldFinds gives us work.”
Rami’s parents didn’t have enough money to pay for her studies, so she needed to start work shortly after elementary school. Their village, Celuk, in Bali, Indonesia is known for its silversmith artisans, but Rami wasn’t finding steady work outside of low-paying factories. The long hours and poor wages made it difficult to help support her husband’s meager income and raise their three children.
Rami learned of Mitra Bali, a local fair trade organization. She showed them her work and they recognized Rami’s skill and motivation and awarded her a large order. In addition to a fair wage, Mitra Bali also provides additional training, pre-payment for raw materials, and links to fair trade buyers.
With new fair wages, Rami can now work for herself and be confident in knowing that there is enough money for her children’s studies – they won’t need to leave school early like she did.