Manufacturing in a conflict zone is difficult. Yet the tenacity of The Makers in Tadó, Colombia brings to mind one of Nelson Mandela's most famous quotes.
Beatriz is a good example of what is untrue in the usual poor and lazy stereotypical portrait of the people of Chocó. She is full of energy and strives to make things better around her. A teacher at a local school, she dedicates her free time actively involving herself in other people’s problems and does her best to help to resolve them. She is also the director of La Platina, a dance group designed to keep the local folkloric heritage alive and, at the same time, offer a positive pastime to youth that would otherwise be in danger. For years, she has sewn the dance group’s costumes.
Astrid, Alexander and Silvia make the rest of the base team.
Astrid’s eyes light up when she tells the story of her first times behind her mother’s sewing machine as a child. She was not allowed to touch it, lest she break it. In hiding, she would use any opportunity to have a go at the machine. One time the needle went through her nail and, in fear of being found out, she did not utter a sound (luckily her father had seen her and offered to care for her finger). That is passion.
Alexander is a professional tailor. He does not have children of his own but is proud to support his extended family. Not a small feat for a physically handicapped individual in this part of the world. And it is proof that sewing is, in his own words, “my destiny”.
Silvia’s story is the most touching. Raised by an aunt who did not want her niece to do better than her own children, Silvia was held back from school. She married, and the story repeated itself: the husband restricted her to the house in his need to fill in the shoes of breadwinner. Unable to cope with the role, the husband shot himself in the living room in front of their children. Their youngest was just a baby. Silvia was left no education, no skills and three children to care for. With Beatriz’s support along with that of the community, she “empirically” learned the clothes-making trade and, not short of pain and strife, over the years she has been able to put food on the table, a roof over their heads and put her eldest through university. Her youngest is doing well in school at 15. It is not all rosy: her middle child is an alcoholic at 18. But her story is a tremendous inspiration to overcoming obstacles.
This short documentary contextualizes how The Fabric of Humanity is involved in Colombia.
Support The Makers in Tadó
Purchase one of the products these individuals make in one of Colombia's last conflict zones.