Meet the Artisans of Ayni Bolivia
Among the countries in South America, Bolivia is the highest area and most secluded. But in fact, Bolivia has many beautiful attractions. Through architecture, storytelling, ruins and colonial towns you'll be able to learn much about Bolivia's history. Sadly, Bolivia is also one of the poorest in the region.
Ayni Bolivia's products are made in a variety of techniques: hand-knitted alpaca, alpaca knitting with manual machines, woven, crochet or macramé, alpaca woven on handlooms, modeled and glazed ceramic or traditional hand-painted with natural ochres, hand knitted toys, animal wood carvings, embroidery and cotton. As new groups enter Ayni Bolivia, they are supported in terms of design and developing their technique skills, with a purpose of moving them from vulnerability to self-sustainability.
Ayni Bolivia is grounded in the Andean Ayni i.e. the values of reciprocity and complementarity for better benefits for everyone involved at Ayni Bolivia. The Andean Ayni is consistent with fair trade.
We are a group of mothers from the tropical rainforest region of Chimoré in the Chapare. We migrated here from other parts of Bolivia and learned the local art of dyeing and weaving a Palm called jipijapa. We developed our own line of products with the help of foreign NGOs who abandoned us once their project was finished. We want to stay out of poverty, so we end up working at all kinds of jobs - farming, as nurses, or merchants, but we would rather make a living from our crafts because we like making them and it keeps us together. We have lost markets abroad which we want to regain and Ayni Bolivia is helping us.
We are three Aymara women who migrated to the city of El Alto. Ayni Bolivian taught us to combine colors and designs for our cards, each one unique and embroidered by hand. Cards are carefully produced to achieve the highest quality. We also use this technique to make bookmarks, floral cards, and Christmas cards. We are very poor and live in simple homes. We want to get out of extreme poverty through fair trade networks which understand and support us. Fair trade also pays more than selling our cards in the tourist zone or post office.
We are a group of 14 migrant Aymara women who live in El Alto. Our puppets are of very high quality. We already export them but began to be exploited so we decided to become independent. Each puppet is made by hand with fine details because we want to keep our customers. We can make any design based on a picture or drawing. For us this work is essential in order to provide for the health and education for our children, many of them are already professionals thanks to this work. Our husbands work at odd jobs or we are single mothers, so the puppets have fed us, we just need steady work to sustain us and our families. More than 100 models of finger puppets hand sewn by working mothers from the Bolivian city of El Alto. Each one is made entirely by hand with acrylic yarn that ensures durability and easy washing. These puppets meet US safety standards on toys for 2 year old children and are sold in several toyshops in Canada and the US.
We are a family that supported our father in the workshops that he had. With Ayni Bolivia, we are independent and have understood the true value of fair trade, because we get a high price and always in cash on delivery. We have improved our house and our children are going to a private school. Currently, we work only for Ayni Bolivia because we get clients that had confirmed our quality and do constant orders. Our leader is a woman and the weavers are men, a change that has taught us the value of the women as leaders. If we get more orders, we will be able to train more weavers. We already know the details of the fabrics made in recycled handlooms that we use, all our looms have been reassembled by ourselves with recycled parts of used looms.
We are an Aymara family that migrated from the countryside to the city of El Alto in search of a better life. We couldn't find steady work and that is why we learned to weave and found Ayni Bolivia to be a fair way to market our products. Thanks to our high quality garments, we were able to lift ourselves out of poverty. We are a stable group and have bought several machines to continue working, growing and helping other people, families and friends in the area. We do garments made from 100% super fine alpaca wool, thick and thin, woven on manual machines and/or crocheted by hand. Scarves, caps, ski hats, sweaters, and ponchos. We produce clothing for both children and adults of very high quality and with an attention to detail from their original design to the finishing touches.