All artists who have participated in the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe have remarkable stories to tell. Below are six stories showing how artists are building community in Ecuador, bringing holistic development to rural India, educating children in Pakistan, empowering women in Afghanistan, bridging the gap to the world in Madagascar, and feeding villages in Niger.

Join us in supporting these artists, so they can continue to have opportunities for transformative change in their communities.

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Read below the ways you can help the Market change lives

Building Community

Flor Maria Cartuche, Beadworker, La Mega Cooperativa Artesanal de los
Saraguros, Ecuador

Flor Maria designs and weaves the traditional bead collars that identify the Saraguro, an indigenous southern Highland Ecuadorian people. The seed-bead collars – from one to six inches in width – are worn daily, even by very young girls. Wedding collars feature multi-colored beadwork and fine netting. The traditional bright colors, horizontal stripes and geometric (triple triangle) forms have been joined by contemporary designs that include “fresas” or berries, leaves and flowers. According to Linda Belote, The group earned more money in one weekend at the Market than they earn otherwise in an entire year
it probably rescued them from closure.

2014 Market sales $26,763 | Average daily income in Ecuador $12.40*

Educating Children

Naina Surendar Valasai, Ralli Quilt Maker, Pakistan

Naina represents Lila Handicrafts, a cooperative of women from a small village in the Thar Desert region of Pakistan. They create beautiful patchwork ralli quilts that are made of old cloth from discarded clothing and household fabrics and are sometimes hand dyed to give them a new appearance. The cloth is torn or cut into geometric shapes, then stitched together on a palm mat on the ground using a large needle and cotton thread. The money the women make at the Market have enabled them to send their children to school and even to build a school in their local community, the Santa Fe Desert School.

2014 Market sales $8,448 | Average daily income in Pakistan $3.24*

Empowering Women

Rangina Hamidi, Embroiderer and Business Owner, Kandahar Treasure, Afghanistan

Rangina overcame the repressive government and attitudes of her native Afghanistan to found Kandahar treasure, an enterprise of Afghan women embroiderers. Through her efforts, the group has grown to more than 450 artists. According to Rangina, The artwork is the women’s expression to the world about their life in Afghanistan. It’s a way of women expressing their voices wordlessly through their stitches. These amazing works of art bring pride and promise to women, giving them independence and an opportunity for a better life.

2014 Market sales $25,686 | Average daily income in Afghanistan $1.60*

Bridging the Gap to the World

Marie Prisca Virgini Ramanaliniaina, Weaver, Federation SAHALANDY, Madagascar

Marie Prisca represents the Federation SAHALANDY, located in the central highlands of Madagascar and is made up of seven weaving cooperatives representing 80 weavers in the area. SAHALANDY’S participation in the Folk Art Market has been the answer to an age-old question, “How would they bridge the gap between their small village in Madagascar and the rest of the world?” SAHALANDY is finding sustainable markets abroad, building four bungalows and a cultural heritage center for traveling tourists, and continuing to teach the weaving tradition to future generations. They are able to manage orders and come together as a team. “One silk strand is strong, but when many are woven together, they are stronger,” is a Malagasy proverb.

2014 Market sales $30,865 | Average daily income in Madagascar $1.27*

Feeding Villages

Elhadji Koumama, Tuareg Jewelers, Niger

Elhadji comes from generations of Tuareg silversmiths and learned silversmithing from his father. Most pieces are geometric in shape and have a special significance– they are made by the lost wax method, then engraved and hammered, and adorned with stones. Now employing dozens of silversmiths, he also supports his large extended family, including eleven siblings; aunts; uncles; and cousins, through his work. Last year, he used profits from the Market to buy enough food to feed 500 people for three months in neighboring villages. He shared, Every year I come back [to Niger] and feed these people, and it makes me feel good.

2013 Market sales $67,627 | Average daily income in Niger $1.09

Bringing Holistic Development to Rural India

Rema Nanavaty, Director of Economic and Rural Development
SEWA Trade Facilitation Center (STFC), an arm of SEWA, the Self Employed Women’s Association

SEWA Trade Facilitation Center (STFC), an arm of SEWA, the Self Employed Women’s Association, was formed in 2003 by more than 15,000 women artisans from the desert region of Gujarat, in western India. STFC aims to empower poor women financially, helping them to create livelihoods for themselves and their families by selling their traditional embroidery. The vision of STFC is to ensure that craftswomen have socio-economic security and full employment, by building a grassroots’ business enterprise for the artisans. The Santa Fe market invites and deals with artisans with such high dignity which makes them feel as entrepreneurs who have not come just to sell the products but for sharing their crafts skills globally for their evolution. -Manju Chabbra, Manager, Sewa Trade Facilitation Centre.

2013 Market sales $16,559 | Average daily income in India $4.19*

*According to United Nations Statistics Division, 2012

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