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Behind The Scenes with E&M

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December 30, 2015

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Posted in Fair Trade artisans


Meet One of Our Partner Artisans - Maria Julia

She lives a life without luxuries, working hard to raise two boys as a single mother. Maria Julia lives in a home with no kitchen or indoor bathroom.  Her widowed mother is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease but lives close by so Maria Julia is able to help care for her in addition to caring for her own children while trying to earn money with her weaving and craft business.

As president of a women's artisan group, she leads a group of 27 women and is always looking to improve her business skills in order to help the group earn money and grow their business.  They have weekly meetings to discuss topics such as: business finances, growing their business, organic gardening for better health for their families, learning new  business skills, etc.

Because she is adamant about her two boys getting a good education she works very hard in her craft business to obtain sufficient money for their school expenses but it is very difficult as they get older with more school expenses. A few months ago she was really pleased to be notified that her older son has a sponsorship from Education And More’s education program.  (We are still looking for a sponsor for her youngest son.)

Maria Julia is a master weaver on the backstrap loom and a few years ago took weaving lessons on the foot pedal floor loom so she could weave different types of textiles.  But that wasn’t the end, she then taught others in her group to weave on the floor pedal loom and there are several women that can now weave to increase their businesses.  

She is an efficient businesswoman and a great president for the group. When an order for their products is received she divides the work  among the group members so all have some work and income.  This group weaves most of E&M’s fouta bath / beach  towels and handcrafts many of the Bracelets2Educate collection.  Recently we received a compliment from a customer about the fouta towels. The customer was born in the middle east where the towels originated and she commented  that the towels were an excellent quality towel and much nicer than many of the fouta towels sold in her native Turkey.  What a nice comment to hear!   Read more about the fouta towels here.

Ethical Home Decor, Fouta Bath Towels

When you visit our webstore and these products, remember Maria Julia and her hard work in getting their products to us here in the States.