Brand of the Week: Wakami

by Carissa Tham November 26, 2015

This week’s brand of the week has built some pretty incredible networks and made some remarkable impacts in rural communities in Guatemala. Established in 2006 by a social enterprise called Kiej de Los Bosques, Wakami is a social enterprise with a mission to generate income in disconnected rural communities. They design handmade bracelets and other fashion accessories, and hire artisans – 90% of whom are women – in remote areas to produce the products under safe and fair working conditions. The brand aims to connect people – to others, to the Earth, and to their inner selves. In particular, they use their entrepreneurial driven model to help their artisans connect to urban markets around the globe, thus empowering themselves and helping improve the economic conditions in their communities.

Wakami does this by working closely with their non-profit partner, Comunidades de la Tierra, to provide economic opportunities for people in rural Guatemala. Artisans that work with Wakami go through a two-year business course, which teaches them how to successfully run their own company. They begin earning and income within four months, and upon completion of the program, they establish a formal enterprise and become partners with Wakami. They receive fair, sustainable wages from Wakami and are able to provide for their families and communities.

Additionally, artisans engage in what is called the Wakami Villages program, which provides programs and education to improve lives in isolated communities. Comunidades de la Tierra subsidizes half of the cost of the program to make it more affordable. There are four areas of impact that it aims to have:

Wakami Family 

Nutrition and education: The nutritional health of children is checked regularly based on their height to weight ratio. School attendance is monitored. 

Wakami Home 
Water filters, stoves, solar energy kits, rain water harvesting units and other useful devices are provided to families, benefitting both the individual home and the environment. 
Wakami Land
Participants plant and cultivate organic gardens, producing fresh, healthy food. Solid waste management and recycling programs are implemented to provide an improved quality of life. 
Wakami Community 
Local forums are open to the public for people to propose new initiatives that would benefit their community. Some community developments include recreational parks, arts and crafts centers and improved roads. The Wakami Village program was created to give people in rural villages the opportunity to access products and services that improve their homes and communities.

Wakami has built an incredible organization that has connected countless rural artisans with urban markets all over the globe and improved numerous lives. Their lovely collection is a reflection of the beauty they bring to the world, so we encourage you to check it out in our shop!

Enjoy the rest of your week,

Julia

 

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Carissa Tham
Carissa Tham

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