Recently, I’ve been visiting churches & sharing about HOPE61 — and even visiting my friends at Houghton! But that’s for later. Right now I’d like to share something fantastic.
Every year of my life I’ve attended the York Fair…until I went away to college, that is. After four years of missing it, I returned this September with Mama. We were nearly done, about to sit down & wait for my sister, when a table of color caught my eye. The colors registered as clearly handcrafted bracelets; I saw straw llamas and big poster board.
If you know me, it’s no surprise that my attention was caught, hook line and sinker! I read the poster and visually devoured the lively colors in an otherwise typical fair scene.
Within a minute, one of the two guys running the booth (for lack of a better word) came over to introduce himself to us. Colin explained that The Pulsera Project supports Nicaraguans who have graduated from Los Quinchos shelter. The pulseras are sold for $5 a piece to support their creators. In Spanish, pulsera means bracelet. These young people are artists, taking many different colors and types of string, and turning them into something expressive and beautiful. The Pulsera Project has even initiated an artisans co-op among 21 pulsera crafters, encouraging artists to broaden their creative possibilities. Through the co-op they earn salaries and scholarships. Colin told us that the pulseras began simply, with few basic patterns. Since the creation of the co-op, however, the creativity of the artists has risen. The variety is incredible!
The Pulsera Project began as most sincere projects should — one person or group of people sees the need of another person or group of people, then dedicates themselves to fulfilling that need in the best possible way. In 2009 Colin, Chris, family members and others (13 in all) were vacationing in Costa Rica. They had the opportunity to visit nearby Nicaragua and the kids at Los Quinchos shelter. The kids that come to Los Quinchos have often been abandoned, abused, orphaned. According to the Pulsera Project’s website, the group discovered an extended family among the kids and adults at Los Quinchos; when they left they were given pulseras as gifts. From there, things took off.
Now, The Pulsera Project works with schools and individuals throughout the US to sell pulseras made by, according to their website, both “former street kids…[and] artisan families.” To date, over $200,000 has been sent back to these Nicaraguan artists while just around $10,000 has gone to administrative costs! The project also arranges student trips to Nicaragua, allowing this grassroots fair-trade movement to go beyond the typical “privileged-buying-from-the-less-privileged” mentality — the people at The Pulsera Project are building relationships that undoubtedly change the viewpoints & dreams of both Americans and Nicaraguans.
As you can see, this project is exciting to me! It lifts my heart. Chris and Colin just graduated from college this year, as I did; it’s encouraging to see more and more of us “young adults” living our lives as an effort to, as the Pulsera Project puts it, Color the World.
(P.S. I bought 2 pulseras at the Fair & plan on ordering more soon! To learn more about the project or to find out how to get your own pulseras, check out: http://www.pulseraproject.org/)