We recently connected with the Earth Education Project (EEP) in Nicaragua and started carrying their hand-made, recycled paper earrings and gift bags. EEP is a great organization that runs a paper recycling workshop in La Chureca, Nicaragua, where they give women an income opportunity, an education, and social development. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean after Haiti. The women of the La Chureca community and the surrounding impoverished areas are socially excluded because they lack the necessary education and social skills to find a decent job. EEP empowers these women with the skills needed to integrate into Nicaraguan society and the job market.
This is Ana (notice her gorgeous earrings). Ana, referred to as Anita within the workshop, has been with the EEP since the beginning. She is 18 years old and lives in the newly built community of via Guadalupe with her husband and 2 year old son, Derlin. Ana was lucky enough to start high school but had to drop out after the second year. She was just 14 years old when she went to work to help support her family. Ana is an intelligent and bright young woman. She enjoys making the Chureca Chic jewelry and is currently in a training program with EEP to learn how to manage and run a paper recycling workshop. Ana is dedicated and hopes to someday teach others how to make Chureca Chic paper and products.
Let’s walk through the process of how the Chureca Chic paper bead earrings are made. The process is fascinating – they are recycled and are truly handmade.
Scrap paper is collected at the local schools and businesses. Once the scrap paper reaches the workshop the paper is torn by hand and then left to soak overnight. With a blender, the wet paper is turned into pulp that is used to make their paper beads and other stationary items.
Sometimes they add a plant based dye to the pulp to add a tint of color.
To make the Paper Drop earrings, they use this pulp to form beads by hand - like you form dough balls. The small balls are pushed onto a tooth pick and left to dry.
Once dry the paper balls are sanded, painted and varnished (which gives the beads a beautiful shine) and the earrings are hand crafted and assembled!
We’re glad that you share our passion for women’s empowerment and ethical products. Great work is done by groups like EEP and Buy The Change, but our work is fueled by you. You are a catalyst for change. You are the key to changing the lives of women around the world.
You can purchase the beautiful earrings made by EEP here and you can visit their site to learn more about their artisans here. Source of information for the blog post came from EEP Founder, Andrea Paltzer, and the EEP website.
Shanan and Kari
P.S. Join us on our journey! We want every woman to have a happy, peaceful and empowered life. You can join us and support our cause in many ways: host a trunk show, spread the word about our mission and the importance of buying fairly-traded products, become an affiliate, follow Buy The Change on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, subscribe to our blog, and shop online!
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