Through two sites in Chile, HandCrafting Justice has been able to work with marginalized women to help them learn new skills, earn income to support their families, and build a sense of community and self-worth.
Casa Ursulina is located in one of the poor barrios of Chillán, a city that is about 240 miles south of Santiago. Most of the women who come to the center are unwed mothers, wives of unemployed men, or single parents, and have had very few educational opportunities. They are all economically disadvantaged, with many living in extreme poverty.
Through courses and workshops at Casa Ursulina, women can learn a trade such as sewing, baking, crocheting, doll-making, and cloth painting, fostering their goals of financial independence. The products they create for HandCrafting Justice include scarves, shawls, tree-topper angels, and holiday ornaments. They use looms and spinning wheels to weave wool purchased from farmers in the countryside to make the beautiful, warm scarves and shawls you see on our website.
Domo Newen Project
In the native Mapuche language, the center is called “mapudungum,” which means, “with women’s strength.” Many of the women who come to this center are urban Mapuches, a cultural group that has not been fully integrated into society, yet at the same time has lost its cultural identity.
While these women want to be empowered to succeed in the modern world, they also want to celebrate and retain their roots. Through their work at the loom shop, they are able to create beautiful goods made entirely with natural materials from their ancestral lands. The center focuses on teaching the process of creating loom fabric, using natural dyes made from leaves, roots and flowers of their surroundings. Their motto is “Today, women are still weaving (building) their history.”