From: El Agustino, Lima
Group Members: Dionisia Ramos, Eluteria Rameres, Maria Castro
Emady, an artisan group established in 2005, consists of three women who run a sewing business specializing in products made from shipibo, a hand-painted cloth that is produced in the Peruvian jungle.
The three members of Emady met each other through a feeding and after-school care project that their children attended. Maria was a seamstress who worked in her home sewing for neighbors, while Eluteria and Dionisia cooked in the project’s kitchen as volunteers so that their children could get one free meal.
The artisans meet in the workshop the group has built on the third floor of Dionisia Ramos’s home. From their sales, Emady was able to set aside this space specifically for their sewing and has invested in sewing machines and buying materials in bulk so that can reduce their costs and produce steadily throughout the year. As a small group, they make their decisions by consensus and annually rotate who is responsible for finances.
Their participation in Fair Trade has taught the group business skills like how to file taxes and how to manage and operate their business. They are proud that they have never had to ask for a loan because they have always been careful to set aside a portion of their income from sewing to invest back into the business. Emady’s good record-keeping and willingness to sell have been deeply appreciated by other artisans.
The women are able to provide support for their families through their sewing. Eluteria’s family consists of four children and a husband who does day work when jobs are available. Maria and her jewelry-making husband are raising three children. Dionisia also has three children, one of whom has Down’s syndrome. She and her husband were able to send Victor to a school for special needs children thanks to the income she receives from her work in Fair Trade.
When asked what this group has meant to them, they replied that they have become sisters above and beyond just being friends. When they are working together, they have a space to share problems, sing out loud to music, and do what they love to do – sew. They are always looking forward to the next order so they can have an excuse to get together!