“Through our entrepreneurial driven model, artisans are able to empower themselves and become leaders of change in their communities.” – María Pacheco
December 11th, 2016
Wakami is a socially conscious brand that designs handmade fashion accessories. Wakami was established in 2006 by Kiej de los Bosques (a social enterprise in Guatemala). It aims to generate income in disconnected rural communities. As one of the finalists for the 2015 Chivas Regal The Venture, we speak to Wakami’s founder Maria Pacheco. First of all, we ask her about the experience of being a part of The Venture. And also about how being its finalist helped Wakami with its dreams. The Venture was an international contest for social entrepreneurs using their business for good.
ESQUIRE: Can you tell us about Wakami and what it’s all about?
Our brand represents a rustic, yet urban lifestyle. It encourages people to connect with one another, the Earth, and their dreams. Hence, we aim to enrich the lives of both the artisans who create Wakami products and those who buy them. We achieve that by inspiring them to do what they love most. Artisans are able to empower themselves and become leaders of change in their communities. Due to the use of our entrepreneurial driven model.
ESQ: How did the idea come about?
The idea came up when rural women in very vulnerable communities said: “If you can sell what we produce, the rest we can do.” As a result we created a vision of what great communities would look like. This vision has transformed into Wakami’s dream. That dream is that all communities have houses and all houses have a window. That from all windows you may see a garden and in all gardens there is a ball. That all the balls belong to boys and girls who go to school, and all schools have committees of parents who work. That all who work can reach the markets, and that markets multiply the houses with windows. That from all the windows, birds and trees are multiplied. And so that the sky may be blue and the sun may shine for everyone.
At Wakami, we believe in the power of dreams as the source of transformation. And the power of the markets as the source of sustained prosperity. Wakami links rural communities to global markets to generate income. Therefore, we’re able to transform cycles of poverty into cycles of prosperity.
ESQ: How has Wakami contributed in helping the rural communities of Guatemala?
First of all, Wakami’s products are currently produced by about 500 women from 18 guatemalan communities. As a restult, the income generated by them, producers and business owners, becomes formal education for their children (90% girls). We generate 140% more school attendance than the national average in our communities. We also provide a better nutritional status for 56% of the children in our communities. Above all, Wakami shows that when women have a source of income, they become powerful agents of change.
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If María’s story made you want to be a part of Wakami’s social impact, you can contribute by purchasing the products that our rural communities have developed!