Artesania Sorata began in 1978. Over the years our artisan
group has seen many changes; from an extended family, to a co-operative of villagers
and rural artisans, to a business that provides work to over 150 indigenous
families in La Paz, El Alto and Sorata. Our goals have always remained the
same: to retrieve textile traditions producing quality items from natural fibers
while improving the standard of living for Bolivians.
The tragedy of the rural and urban areas of Bolivia is that despite hard work, a
family cannot always provide sufficient income to properly nourish, educate and provide
medical care to its members. By helping the women of the family to create extra
income, we are working to change this. In providing income and repeated opportunities
to be creative and productive to our artisans, an empowerment process is taking
place in the lives of these women, whose abilities are often denied their true
worth in today´s society.
We came to realise that apart from the need to increase family income, the women
we work with have many other needs. We soon began to teach adult literacy, health care and
creative skills to help the artisans and their families. More recently we decided to help
disadvantaged Bolivian children. A creativity program in was founded in 1992 to
achieve this aim and in 2003 our hearing program began enabling us to make more positive differences. Please
read more about these programs on our volunteer pages
As we were working toward economic and social change in Bolivia, people in other parts of the world were doing the same.
The sincere desire and need for a new economic model gained momentum and a movement was born.
This movement is now known as "Fair Trade". Over the years it has helped many people all over the world to improve their
quality of life. This has been especially beneficial for women and families in rural areas. We
are proud to be a part of a movement that is quickly growing and making positive
changes in the world. The power of discerning consumers is finally beginning to be
used to make a positive difference, however this is a very long and arduous process.
By being part of an economy based on respect for human rights and an attitude of
solidarity we hope to create a fairer world.
While recognising the leaps forward that have been taken in last 20 to 30 years,
we feel that there is still a very long way to go. International disparity in the availability and quality of
healthcare, education and nutrition remains enormous.
We hope that the Fair Trade Movement, an umbrella for people working towards greater equality,
will lead the way. To this end Artesania Sorata´s Diane Bellomy is a member of the
board of directors of RENACC La Paz, a leading Bolivian Fair Trade organisation.
Our dream is of more equality within international society. Everyone has the right
to have a nourishing diet, good health care and a positive outlook for the future.
Artesania Sorata is working towards this goal.
This website was designed and built by Ben Gurney and Erika Severini