WE ARE IBU IN ACTION:
The Foundation provided supplies to the cooperative, including scissors, sewing machines, pots to dye fibers, magnifying glasses and cell phones to enhance communication between artisans.
“The First Artisan Olympic Games” were held as a way for artisan leaders to celebrate the craftsmanship of local artisans in the Zenu tribe and creatively distributed the supplies from the Foundation including scissors, sewing machines, magnifying glasses and cell phones to enhance communication between artisans.
Covid-19 emergency relief to purchase food and materials to make protective face masks for local community.
In 2019, the Ibu Foundation supported a group of women from the ancient Zenú tribe just outside of Cartengena in northern Colombia. The women in this village weave in caña flecha, which is the leaf of a cane that grows around the wetlands of the indigenous reserves. Plants and mud from the land are then used as natural dyes, creating vibrant colors, along with the iconic black and white sombrero vueltiao dating back to before the arrival of the Spanish.
The Foundation received a grant application from this group stating that they were in dire need of tools and supplies. They wanted to improve the quality of their skillfully crafted items and increase their production times and quantities. These artisans have been using the same scissors to cut their vegetables as to cut wire for their jewelry, the same knives for use in the kitchen as to cut fibers, and the same pot to cook meals as to dye fibers. Because of Ibu Foundation, they no longer have to risk sanitation, safety, or quality due to lack of supplies!
We received photos and a happy report from the Zenú artisans that they held their first “Artisan Olympic Games” to celebrate their artisans’ skills and traditions by creatively providing “competitors” with kits of scissors, sewing threads, sewing needles, tape, and reading glasses. The leader of this cooperative told us that “everyone won” and this was a celebration they will not forget.
“WHEN OUR ARTISANS ARE OBSERVED AND ADMIRED BECAUSE OF THEIR JOB, SKILLS AND WORK, THEIR SELF-ESTEEM GROWS CONSIDERABLY AND THEY FEEL PROUD OF THEIR OCCUPATION. THESE FEELINGS ARE REFLECTED WHEN THEIR LIFE'S QUALITY IMPROVES, MAKING THEIR JOB A SUSTAINABLE SOURCE OF INCOME. HAPPINESS WAS BROUGHT BY IBU TO ALL THESE FAMILIES...”
- MAGNO CATERINO MAHECHA LOPEZ, ARTISAN GROUP LEADER
This event brought happiness, confidence, and pride to the artisans and weavers of the Zenú tribe in Colombia. These artisans serve a critical role in maintaining the story of an ancient legacy and preserving their tribe’s traditions. These photos and stories from this Olympic Games give me hope for the future of the women in this community, and it emphasizes that together, they—and we—are weaving a fabric of respect for textile traditions and for the artisans who preserve them.