Weaving a Path to Peace through Women's Artisanship
Recent studies have shown the transformative power of artisanship: handicrafts provide a space of multicultural recognition, represent memorialization for second and third generation migrants, hold potential for trauma expression, and a vessel to communicate a unified message that we are all part of one human family – all this while creating a platform for women to sustain themselves economically. This program describes how Women Forward International (WFI), a nonprofit that partners graduate students with organizations to make their research of service to humanity applicable today, is making the economic empowerment of artisan women possible.
Empowering Women Artisans in Myanmar and Afghanistan
WFI is partnering with fashion company, Blumera, and women artisans on the ground around the world to create a new collection of clothing, accessories, and home goods utilizing innovative upcycled materials while providing dignified employment to women – who are often peacebuilders.
In partnering with Women Forward International, Blumera broadens its ability to hire and support local artisans worldwide, and seeks to empower female artisans in all territories with an emphasis on women in crisis zones. It is the Blumera mission to support these women and aid in providing infrastructure that affects not only their immediate families but also their community at large. Through Blumera's work with WFI and their university students and programs, and in providing gainful employment to the artisans, the aim is to uplift these communities holistically through mental, emotional, and physical healthcare and wellbeing, education, and other modalities that are tailored specifically to the needs of each individual community.
This project will result in a collection of wearable works of art and support artistic, technical and economic opportunities, especially for female artisans, in which they can grow and rise in responsibility, income, skills, and management while transmitting beauty and love into the world.
Blumera is built on the ethos of LOVE which flows through every facet, stitch, etching, carving, and design of the brand. This is the soul of Blumera, and from which our sustainability practices spring from. The Blumera team of artisans are our family. They set their own wages, work schedule, and work from the comfort of their home (or temple, as is the case with our carver and Balinese Priest, Pak Mangku). They delight in seeing the positive impact that Blumera has made on our team. Due to this positive system of working, the team has been able to build their own dream homes and work spaces. Blumera believes that intention is paramount and that what goes into a creation is what comes out. Blumera designs, creates, and delivers with love, integrity, and heart.
WFI thanks the Roy Hunt Foundation for its generous support for this program