Introducing our first jewelry! The Semillas Collection (semillas means seeds in Spanish) is made by the 14 women of the El Palmeral collective in El Salvador, whose lives have been transformed by their work. Ana Maria Santos (below, 3rd from the left), a married mother of two, says "it has taught us to be more confident, to speak for ourselves and to feel valuable, when before we were shy and afraid."
El Salvador is a small, beautiful country plagued by some of the highest levels of violence in the world, driven by gangs and high levels of inequality. The violence has increased this year to the worst level since the country's civil war in the 1990s. Work for the collective is a lifeline for women seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
Vidalia del Carmen Duran (second from left), who has three children, and says of her work: "We are happy to be helping our homes and families and also because we are working in our own communities. We can all be with our kids and take care of our homes, without having to leave and look for work away, in the cities. That fact is something we are especially grateful for, to be able to work within our own community."
The seeds are gathered by men in the community and sold to the women who make these products, which have a lovely weight and soul about them, and are sustainable. Brighten up your summer and glow into the fall with a tassel necklace or bracelet, all - of course - accented with hot pink!
With love from Vidalia, Ana Maria and the rest of the El Palmeral collective team - and us here at Catrinka too.