Nicaraguan Indigenous Weavings

The Indigenous community of El Chile, Matagalpa, has revived their community’s long history of weaving. As a teenager, Alba Rosa Mercado was part of a group of girls who were mentored by the community’s elders who still remembered how to do back-strap weaving. As an adult, Alba Rosa taught more community members the tradition and eventually was able to offer jobs to other community members. Today, there are 2 collectives in El Chile, which provide employment for women and a few men in the community. Some dedicate their time to weaving in the indigenous tradition of their ancestors on a back-strap loom, while others sew woven fabric into handbags, back-packs, wallets and change purses. Planting Hope supports the collective by purchasing their products at a fair-trade price and then selling them at craft fairs and markets in the US. Proceeds benefit Planting Hope’s projects in Nicaragua and support microloans to the cooperative, since tourism fell due to political unrest and Covid-19.