Gringas started on a trip to our motherland - Colombia - where we discovered the beauty of Mochila bags. From a young age we had been gifted Mochilas by family, but never understood the work that went into them or the history that made them so beautiful.
While exploring the many diverse places Colombia is home to we learnt more about the Wayuu Tribe and how they use their craft to fund their self sufficient communities. We decided to set up Gringas to spread the vibrance and beauty of these bags, as well as supporting the communities behind them.
The Wayuu Tribe (pronounced ‘Wah-You’) are a female led tribe based in the La Guajira desert, close to the Colombian and Venezuelan borders. The tribe is unique in the fact that the women of the household own the houses and run the families. Traditional skills including weaving are handed down from mother to daughter. Additionally, children take their mother’s last name - it is with pride that women pass the skills to make these bags down to their daughters.
Each design is unique, and represents the personal story told by the weaver with intricate tribal designs and colours. Many of the designs that are woven into each bag represent the natural elements that surround the Wayuu including their culture, dreams, daily lives, animals, the sun, plants, stars - meaning no two bags are ever the same.
It takes around 10 -15 days to make one bag as they are all hand weaved, looped and crotched by the Wayuu women keeping to their ancient traditions.
We love working with the Wayuu women knowing that each bag is an individual piece and that they are made with love (& a story) in a fair trade environment with female artisans being paid fairly for their work. It’s a bonus that in a world that is dominated by males being the breadwinners that the women are celebrated for their skills!
With the current climate really effecting these small communities and vulnerable women we have decided to make more donations to matters close to our heart. We will be donating money from each sale we make to LAWA (Latin America Women’s Aid) as these isolating times have highlighted to us how many women need assistance in fleeing abuse and gender based violence.
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lots of love,
Women Connect x