Ecuador Handicraft Products
By: Charlie Conner
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As rich in natural resources as it is cultural diversity, Ecuador has an abundance of locally produced goods to share with the world. From the world’s finest organically grown food products to unique and exsquisite art and apparel handcrafted by local indigenous artisans, Ecuador has more high-quality crafts to offer the world than a country ten times its size.
However, traditionally, the majority of the profits made from these the sale of these products have not returned to the communities and to the artisans who labored to produce them. Lacking the means to get their goods to consumers abroad, these communities have historically watched the bulk of the fruits earned from the sweat of their brow fall into the hands of middle men.
However, in the past several years, many progressive Ecuadorian companies and organizations have begun to change this. Spearheading a variety of pioneering ventures designed to share Ecuador’s riches with the world while channeling the profits directly back into the hands of those that have earned them, these programs are promoting local economic growth and funding innovative community development and environmental programs while helping to preserve Ecuador’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Wishing to support these amazing organizations and the production of their unique, high-quality crafts, EcuadorExplorer.com has created a list of the pioneers that are on the cutting edge of this movement. What follows is a brief list of some of the leaders in Ecuadorian fair trade and the promotion of Ecaudorian artisan products worldwide.
Sisay Fine Crafts Hand-made crafts for export (English and Spanish) – Is a handicraft workshop that wants to cooperate with an ecological consciousness which in Kichua means Blooming. We deeply believe that there is an urgent need to give people the challenge of having a different relationship with the environment. Ecology involves a world view and more than a technical issue it constitutes a challenge that guarantees the biosphere and the whole nature. It is a cultural proposal more than a social concern.
Camari – marketing handcrafted artisan goods and agricultural products produced by small producers from all over Ecuador, Camari is dedicated to the promotion of the principals of Fair Trade. Working to promote and export the finest in Ecuadorian handicrafts and agricultural products, Camari is working to allow artisans and small producers to benefit from the new global economy by helping them to get directly in to contact with consumers worldwide to gain a fair price for the exquisite goods they produce.
Galo Plaza Foundation – in addition to managing a Condor rehabilitation center in the Ecuadorian Andes, Galo Plaza runs a women’s community embroidery project designed to generate revenue for local indigenous families while preserving, revitalizing, and reaffirming a sense of cultural pride and century old traditions. Known worldwide for the exquisite beauty and unparalleled intricacy of their weavings, the Zuleteña weavers produce garments of incomparable splendor which have long been sold in shops throughout the Andes and, by special order, internationally. With the integration of an online philosophy into their business model, these garments are set to be exported worldwide to the most discriminating of global consumers.
The Catholic Equator – with a focus on sharing the rich Catholic heritage of Ecuador with the world, the Catholic Equator sells and exports the finest handcrafted religious art and antiquities. Moreover, the business also offers a variety of pilgrimage tours designed to help people from all over the world discover Ecuador’s rich culture and history.
Ecopapel – founded in 1992 to create alternative, ethical employment in the Bahía de Caráquez area where families and local habitats had suffered from the clearing of the mangrove forest, Ecopapel manufactures handmade recycled paper. The families involved in the project have become skilled and efficient in their work, creating new and better quality papers, all handmade, using a large variety of plant fibers, leaves, seeds and flowers. The women who work in the workshop are mainly solo mothers who have also found this an alternative, ethical form of employment as well as an opportunity to develop their creativity. Ecopapel paper is used to create all kinds of paper products from rustic coconut folders to exquisite banana fiber wedding invitations. Whatever your paper needs, Ecopapel can help fill them while supporting responsible community development and conserving precious natural resources.
*EcuadorExplorer.com would like to ask our visitors to help us make this list as comprehensive as possible. If you know of a worthy organization working to export locally made artisan products to the benefit of the communities that produce them, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a description of the organization and its URL. Thank you. We truly appreciate your support.