Juana’s story – Artesania Sorata

by Diane Bellomy 4 years ago
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Diane Bellomy from Artesania Sorata tells us about Juana, one of the Bolivian women the organisation works with:

After Juana became paralysed her husband left her, leaving her with two children to provide for. For the first few years, she and her daughter lived with Juana’s mother, in the village of Sorata. Their income came from the sale of bread that Barbara (the grandmother) made, but it was insufficient to educate and care for both of Juana’s children, so her son was sent to an orphanage.

We began working with Juana  by giving her yarn to make hats for dolls; then she learned to make a special hat, depicting children holding hands, which became very popular, and lastly, she learned to make a basketweave hat for adults and this is now our best seller! This work helped Juana to bring her son back to live with her and her daughter, and to move to La Paz where she had access to better medical attention.

Here are some words from Juana:

“My name is Juana Lucana. I am from the village of Sorata. I came to live in La Paz to have better medical attention, in the hopes that I would be able to walk again. Unfortunately, I still cannot walk but I have greater opportunities here in La Paz.

This is the work that I do, I make these hats. This is the only work that is available as I cannot walk. I would like to say to the women of the world that there should be more work for women, especially for the disabled. Also, we hope that you will purchase our products.

This work has helped me immensely. I hope that people can organise more groups like Artesania Sorata , in order that those people who need work can feel stronger and live more of a normal life. Those of us who cannot walk have feelings just like anyone else and we need opportunities; we can feel more like a person who does not have a disability when we have work like this. I would like to see more centres like Artesania Sorata created around the world for more people to have the opportunity that I have had to work, despite my disability.”

Find out more about Artesania Sorata, and their work with natural dyes

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