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Group of Wayuu women smiling and crocheting crossbody mochilas

Kululumana & Mouwasira

Wayuu women in a traditional bright yellow "manta" dress

Elsa Maria Ipuana

Ana Elisa Paz

Luisa Carmen Gomez

Wayuu women in front of a crossbody crochet mochila bag

Ceneris Pushaina

Wayuu women and her family in an Indigenous village

Daniela Epinayu

Wayuu women in a headscarf and traditional "manta" dress

Luz Marina Ipuana

Wayuu women in a traditional "manta" dress on the beach

Monica Ipuana

Wayuu women in a colourful "manta" dress in a rural village

Rina Pushaina

Wayuu woman crocheting a traditional crossbody mochila bag

Yali Ipuana

Three women standing in a rural village in colourful "manta" dresses

Ana Mercedes Ipuana

Young Wayuu woman and her child in a rural village

Yudeth Esther Lopez

Wayuu women in a headscarf in front of a crossbody mochila bag

Olga Ramirez

Young Wayuu woman and her child in Indigenous village

Dariluz Jusayu Aguilar

Young Wayuu woman in traditional "manta" dress with a crossbody mochila

Flor Palacio

Wayuu woman holding a teal green crochet crossbody mochila

Yenis Paola Ramirez

Wayuu women sitting in a chair in an a "manta" dress

Yulismar Ramirez

Young Wayuu woman in a traditional "manta" dress on the beach

Mairin Velasquez

Wayuu women wearing a headscarf and "manta" dress crocheting a crossbody mochila

Maria Helena Bonivento

Wayuu woman smiling in a bright "manta" dress in a rural village

Maria Tomasa Bonivento

Wayuu woman crocheting a crossbody mochila

Maritza del Carmen Epinayu

Young Wayuu woman in a blue dress in front of a crossbody mochila bag

Miguelina Gouriyu

Wayuu woman in a traditional "manta" dress on the beach

Yenitza Aguilar

Wayuu woman wearing a crossbody mochila bag in a rural village

Yolibeth Ipuana

Wayuu woman in a red traditional "manta" dress

Mileida Chelly Ipuana

Kululumana and Mouwasira are neighboring rancherías with more than thirty families located alongside the Cerrejon railroad which transports millions of tons of coal annually. Three quarters of the women in these rancherías are the sole earners for their families, selling mochilas to buy necessities. There is no reliable source of electricity, and currently zero income earning opportunities outside of One Thread Collective.

Co-founder Jackie Gilbert regularly visited Kululumana during her field research in 2019 to learn about the impacts of the transport of coal on local Indigenous communities. Over time, Jackie got to know the women and the difficulties of day-to-day life in this small village where there are no consistent income earning opportunities to support basic food and water needs. When she asked what the community needed most in order to improve food and water security, the women said they needed a place to sell their mochilas as weaving was their only “marketable” skill. The Ipuana sisters of Kululumana asked Jackie to help provide a space to promote the sale of their art while giving credit to the artisan.

Jackie has now been working with Kululumana for five years, including four years together with One Thread Collective. We now provide consistent income and entrepreneurship opportunities for twenty-five women artisans from Kululumana.

Wayuu women and child standing in front of a coal train

Life on the frontline of Latin America's largest coal mine

The Cerrejón railroad transports coal from Latin America’s largest coal mine to the port on the northern coast of the Guajira peninsula. Communities along the railroad suffer health impacts of coal particulates from the 100-car coal train that passes through the region a dozen times a day. The train also compromises the Wayúu’s pastoral tradition, as animals that roam freely are killed by the train on a daily basis.

As a result, hand woven mochilas are the primary source of income for the community.


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