This summer, students from Portland State University traveled to Nicaragua. The group spent a day with Yamileth Perez, Esperanza en Accion's Director of Programs in Nicaragua, learning about Esperanza en Accion and visiting communities. Kelly Sellers wrote the following piece about her experience.
A Week with Esperanza en Acción: Observations & Implications
By Kelly Sellers
As an American community development student from Portland State University, spending a week with Esperanza en Acción was an incredible opportunity. Shadowing director Yamileth Perez through her daily activities shed light on the sheer amount of work that goes into supporting local artisans in Nicaragua. Perez´s strong, supportive relationships with these artisans help support economic capacity and cultural preservation within Nicaragua. Visits to traditional markets, which cater to tourists, and artisan homes highlighted stark differences in quality, price, and treatment of local artisans.
At first glance, traditional markets in Managua, Masaya, and Granada seem to actively support a diversity of artisan wares. Through working with Perez, the actual reality of these markets became much clearer. Focused mostly on pottery, Perez pointed out the lessened quality of many of these vases, bowls, and other crafts. Uneven paint, inconsistent carving, and fingerprints were just some of the flaws in these pieces. After meeting artisans in their homes, the contrast in design creativity and execution became very apparent. Local artisans spoke about the originality of their designs, stating that artisans are not supposed to copy each other’s artwork. Learning about the process from start to finish also exposed other problems with the durability of many pieces sold in the traditional markets.
The Esperanza en Acción staff organized a fundraiser earlier this month for Aura Lila Hernandez Linarte, one of our sister artisans who is struggling with cancer. Pieces donated by other artisans raised over 2,000 Cordobas and an additional 3,000 Cordobas came from Esperanza pieces. Aura Lila is currently undergoing chemotherapy and the US$200 from the fundraiser will help support her during this difficult time.
Check out pictures from the fundraising event below!
This summer, students from Portland State University traveled to Nicaragua. The group spent a day with Yamileth Perez, Esperanza en Accion's Director of Programs in Nicaragua, learning about Esperanza en Accion and visiting communities. Andrea Wilson, one of the students, went back to Nicaragua at the end of the school program and volunteered with us for one week. She wrote the following piece about her experience.
A Week with Esperanza en Acción
By Andrea Wilson
Human connection has the power to inspire each of us to change how we interact with and affect the world around us. That’s why for Yamileth Perez and Esperanza en Acción, supporting artisans in Nicaragua doesn’t only mean building their capacity to obtain better prices and broader markets for their goods. It includes forging human connections between Nicaraguan artisans and foreign students.
This summer, four students of Community Development at Portland State University learned about Esperanza en Acción’s work and ceramic artists they aid by shadowing director Yamileth Perez in her work.
Students got to meet artisans in their homes, make friends, learn about the pottery making process, and, as Yamileth says, “Hear the voice of the artisans” supported by Esperanza en Acción. The organization has helped small artisan businesses increase their income and sustainability, by providing training in business management, teaching them to ask a fair price and what that means, and connecting them to broader markets through student trips like that of Portland State, and through the shop in Managua where Esperanza en Acción sells art at no cost to artisans.