Last November, we reported on the Product Innovation Workshops that were taking place in Intibucá to benefit Adelante clients from the Lenca Corridor. We are proud to announce that our first of eight workshops planned for 2012 was held last week, February 22-24. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Women’s Empowerment International for generously funding our 2012 workshops.
The workshop focused on creating decorative products that have a high profit margin and substantial demand. The first day was spent teaching the women how to make crepe paper flowers. They learned how to craft different varieties of flowers, and once the women have these basic skills they can decide the details, for example the size, complexity and colors. It was amazing to witness how much care the women took to create their first flower since the process was very new to most of them. As the day progressed, their flower crafting abilities improved considerably and our clients were pumping out beautiful flowers faster and faster.
The second and third days were spent using the flowers to make bouquets, wreathes, and stalks, as well as bridal bouquets and veils using natural flowers. With the skills acquired, the women can create their own custom products tailored for different occasions, such as a girl’s 15th Birthday Party or Quinciñera, weddings, graduations, funerals, baptisms, and other events. One of the main benefits of crepe paper flower decorations is that the product is reusable, which makes them a preferred alternative to natural flowers.
In addition to using the crepe paper flowers to make popular products, the women also were taught how to take cheap retail items, such as hair accessories, and increase their value for resale. Just by adding simple, inexpensive craft items, such as glue-on butterflies, colorful ribbon, or hand made pompoms, the accessories increase in value with not a lot of effort or cost.
Feedback from clients indicates that they are excited to be learning new skills and intend to put them into practice. An elderly client, Mercedes, affirms, ¨Here I am learning something new, now I can sell this product, and I know this sells a lot!¨ Another client, Karla, is one of few who had past experience, but she explains how the workshop has been practical anyways, ¨In school I did these flowers before, but now I remember how to make them and I also think that the techniques being taught are better than the ones I learned before.¨ Karla supports herself through her micro enterprise selling home-made bread, but she plans to use the knowledge acquired to begin selling crepe paper flowers too. She is currently studying at night to attain a secondary school diploma, so having an additional source of income will assist her with school related expenses.
As 2012 progresses, check back here on our blog to read about future Adelante workshops and how they are helping the women of Intibucá and La Paz to earn more income and further improve their overall quality of life!