The Pulsera Project

Hope Farrar, Guest Writer

For two weeks in February and March, Woodside’s Spanish Club will be selling pulseras (bracelets) handmade by artisans in Nicaragua and Guatemala to support Latin American communities and empower artists in these developing countries. Through the Pulsera Project’s “Color the World” initiative, money raised by selling the hand-woven bracelets is used to fund educational opportunities for Latin American youth, spearhead environmental initiatives in these biodiverse tourist destinations, and support workers’ rights organizations and housing programs. As opposed to simply giving poverty-stricken communities resources (like other charities), the  Pulsera Project strives to provide economic opportunities to its partners, pairing valuable job connections with financial empowerment for typically underpaid artisans.

Life in the third world of Nicaragua is fundamentally different from what we know in the United States. According to the Borgen Project, 46.2% of Nicaraguans were living in poverty in 2014 (Kliesner). With the country experiencing the repercussions of years of dictatorship, civil war, numerous hurricanes, and volcanic activity, the economy has suffered immensely. Fortunately, the GDP per capita, which is heavily dependent on remittances, has seen a recent increase, and extreme poverty has fallen by 6% (Kliesner). However, Nicaraguan society is still overwhelmed by poverty, and many people in the U.S. are simply unaware of the dire situation.

The Spanish Club, advised by Señora Hanson, firmly believes that the Pulsera Project will give Woodside students a chance to learn more about developing Latin American countries. By taking part in the pulsera sales, students can learn more about the economic pressures facing Nicaragua and Guatemala while participating in an important cultural exchange and learning the importance of civic engagement in modern societies. Those who purchase pulseras can be confident that they are promoting fair trade principles and creating a market for these goods that just doesn’t exist in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Supporting the Pulsera Project is different from donating money to a charity. While normal charities merely donate commodities to communities, the Pulsera Project empowers workers in those communities and gives them tools to succeed, stimulating change in the stagnated poverty of developing Central America.

Please purchase pulseras from February 27 to March 10 for $5 each to empower Latin American artisans and visit to learn more about the iniative.