Ainjush Guajira Handicraft Shop (Made in Guajira)

Ainjush Guajira Handicraft Shop (Made in Guajira)

According to official figures reported by the Tourism and Handicrafts Policy of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, it is estimated that handicrafts represent about a quarter of the microenterprises in the developing world, linking diverse population groups and ethnic communities, which demonstrates the multiplying social effect of the sector, which generates jobs in the short term and strengthens cultural identity.

In Colombia, the handicrafts sector employs more than 350,000 people in craft trades, representing 15% of manufacturing industry employment.

The population of artisans corresponds mainly to heads of household and is made up of 60% women and 40% men. By trades, 57.5% are dedicated to weaving in its different modalities. The rest work in wood (13.5%), pottery and ceramics (9.8%), leather goods (3.5%) and jewelry and goldsmithing (2.4%).

The main markets for handicraft production are the municipalities where the artisans live. Only 1.35 of the artisan workshops surveyed export, and they do so occasionally. Eighty-five percent of national sales are made in the municipality of origin, 8% in other municipalities and 3% in other departments. This fact denotes the possibility that tourism has as a space for the commercialization of handicrafts and as a factor to show the cultural identities of the country to Colombians and the world.

The Wayuu woven handicrafts in La Guajira are not far from this description, with approximately 40,000 artisans.

The level of Unsatisfied Basic Needs is the same as the figures for La Guajira, most of them are families that have had to turn to handicrafts, which is their ancestral trade and which can generate some income. Most of them are families composed of 5 to 7 members. A very high percentage of the trade is carried out by women from the indigenous communities.

From Hotel Waya, the support to the communities and artisans in the development of its sustainability strategy has been a matter of relevant materiality within its social dimension, the support to the indigenous communities, especially to the Wayuú weavers.

The Ainjush Wajira Store at the Waya Hotel began operating in 2013, starting with 40 artisans. It has been an important journey of learning from the communities, articulating with the different regions within all tourist routes and supporting this craft not only within the hotel but also outside it.

This population has not only participated in the elaboration of different pieces of the hotel’s equipment such as: foot of beds, rugs, special ornaments, hammocks, hammocks, backpacks, key chains, belts, handles, purses, hats, decoration, guajiro coffee, chirrinchi, Wayuu blankets, cotizas or waireñas slippers among others, which give life and color and highlight the culture in all areas of the hotel.  The Ainjush Wajira store for approximately 10 years has linked to date more than 105 communities through a fair trade alliance that has directly benefited a network of 157 Wayuu families, the purchase of these artisans in the last two years amounts to the sum of $ 184 million.

We have built relationships of trust and rapprochement with the communities, which has allowed us to look after their interests, respect their rights and contribute to the training and strengthening of their capacities to position their trade and products. This has translated for many families in the improvement of some of their basic needs such as: education of their children, improvement of nutritional conditions, improvement of their homes.

They have also been trained in the cost of the products and to give them the real added value of this ancestral craft.

Artisan Katia Vergara

Listening to the testimony and history of the artisans becomes a constant learning process for building relationships, a sense of belonging and identity with the territory.

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