Did you know that financial insecurity is the #1 reason that women stay in domestic abuse situations? That is what we, with Tales by Solid want to do something about. With our fair handicraft workshops, we provide underprivileged women in Peru, India and Kenia, with autonomy and independence to live empowered lives. We create ethical and aesthetical apparel and fashion but moreover, we build a more sustainable economy for our artisans. They seek a safe place from domestic abuse, they seek an honest working place to economically empower their communities. But they’re all earning fair wages that they can use to take care of their families and build a better life for themselves.
At Tales by Solid, we are committed to building a strong, fair and sustainable fashion industry that values and upholds artisans, their craftsmanship and their communities. Tales by Solid proudly stands for ethical values, social purpose and making a positive impact on our artisans, their communities and employees. In all that we do, we honour artisan traditions and the communities where these traditions were born.
Our knitting moms in Ayacucho, Peru
Solid’s knitting workshop in Peru, called Manta, is located in the city of Ayacucho. A city, tucked away in the Andean highlands, where a majority of the population comes from indigenous Quechua communities, with Quechua as their mother tongue. These indigenous communities are disproportionally hit by poverty, having its roots in high rates of illiteracy, particularly in women, and a lack of essential services such as education and electrical power.
Over 80% of our artisans, most with a Quechua rural background, didn’t finish their primary school. In 2009, UNICEF calculated that 78% of children whose first language was Quechua or Aymara lived in poverty, compared to 40% of those whose mother tongue was Spanish. UNICEF also reported that only 32% of indigenous children between three and five attend school, with the number being 55% for non-indigenous children.
The workshop therefore has a big social objective, to improve the living conditions of the over 150 underprivileged women we work with, by generating a fair income and new opportunities. Much more then employment is provided. Social work is woven into the workplace, providing coaching, workshops, and free childcare on site. A team of 4 employees, accompanied by volunteers, support the knitters in different areas.
Most of the knitters working at the workshop, live in the poor neighbourhoods surrounding Ayacucho. Additionally the workshop collaborates with a few, more remote, rural communities with a tradition in handicrafts. Although knitting is a skill they learned from their mother or grandmother, being part of the Peruvian culture, regular training and follow-up is given, so all our knitters become world class hand knitters.
Our artisans in Ranchi, India
With Paces Crafts, we have a hand-weaving workshop in the heart of India’s northern region, Jharkhand, the second poorest state of India. Jharkhand’s social indicators such as literacy, enrolment, infant mortality and child nutrition are below the all-India average.
Our artisans live in rural communities where jobs are scarce, and people at risk for trafficking, poverty, uncertain day labour and violence. In this environment our artisans have shown the courage to choose hope, and we are privileged to walk alongside them as they transform their livelihoods.
Currently, we support 60 artisans. It is our goal to continue to grow this powerful community and break the bonds of poverty. Each member of our team truly brings something special and valuable to the table. At Paces crafts they have found a meaningful community with each other, a steady income to keep their families together, and learned the craft of weaving and crocheting. But most importantly, they learned to believe in themselves and new opportunities, growing as an employee, weaver, woman, mother, community member, etc.
Our basket weavers in East-Kasigau, Kenia
Hadithi Crafts, our partner in Kenya is based in the South-East of Kenya, in the Kasigau region, located between the Tsavo East and West National Park. A region where families struggle to live from their land, as climate change has led to recurring droughts making farming, traditionally the primary source of income and sustenance, an unreliable foundation for a stable livelihood. Many of the artisans we work with face this dilemma. The income they earn from the basket weaving helps ensure their families are fed and cared for when crops can no longer provide security. Hadithi means ‘a story’ in Swahili, the local language, as each basket tells the unique story of the powerful woman whose hands braided it. Every basket sold directly supports its maker and their families, ensuring a fair income, in a region where employment is scarce.
Hadithi’s artisans are women between 19 and 92 years of age. The majority of these women are married (67%) or widowed (23%).
Organized in approximately 60 basket weaving groups, Hadithi is reaching over 1700 low-income families. And the number is rising every year. As families have five members on average, Hadithi positively impacts the lives of some 8,500 women, men and children in the region. Additionally, Hadithi supports 2 training programs for youngsters, in welding and leather tanning, setting up equipped workshops in remote villages and providing a market for their end products.
Many of the basket weaving groups are organized as self-help groups, where women save money collectively so that members can take out a loan, to invest in a new business or education of their children. Women support each other and learning new skills, from basket weaving to entrepreneurship, with their new found confidence, new paths towards empowerment open up for these women.