Take Lorena Guzman from Huila, Columbia. She was forced to escape from guerrillas in the state of Caqueta, where she lived with her family for years. Leaving her home and all the family's belongings behind, Lorena had much difficulty finding work to support her family and encountered many challenges along the way. In 2008, the mother of two was connected with ATA through a partner organization, Family's In Action.
"(ATA) invited me to attend a meeting and from that day, my life changed," says Lorena.
"At the beginning, I thought this organization was going to be like the rest…that promises a lot of things, but never fulfills them. Fortunately, I was wrong. I could say that after a year of being part of the Aid to Artisans family, I am completely convinced that ATA really works. They fulfill what they promise."
The organization trained Lorena – along with other artisans in Huila – in product design, marketing and sales. Their workshop is located in Neiva, Huila and the women produce all different types of leather accessories, focusing on leather handbags in different shapes, colors and sizes, according to Lorena.
"For me this process was something new. I never imagined I could learn the handbag technique and that after one year I would become an expert," says Lorena. "(This experience) has strengthened me in many ways – first of all, I feel very secure of my self and my self esteem is high. I am very happy of where am standing today and of what the future has for me."
Photo #1: Lauren Barkumel / Aid to Artisan -- Senegal Macandene Spinning.
Photo # 2: Aid to Artisan -- Dastikar, an artisan group from India, designed and created the hand-embroidered turquoise and pink tiger tote bags with the help of aid to Artisan.
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