The Carasque Co-op
In the mountain village of Carasque, El Salvador, women, girls and men gather to sew, embroider and crochet. Large items like the crocheted hammocks are created cooperatively.
The imaginative designs include the colorful flowers, birds, animals and trees in their rural surroundings as well as global images. Tote bags, aprons, and T-shirts are often embroidered with children holding hands around the earth.
Each member of the cooperative expresses their individual creative spirit.
For 12 long years, the people of Carasque struggled through a civil war. They fled their village to escape death, but returned while the war still raged to rebuild their community with great courage. PICA began our Sister City project during this time, as an effort to help protect the human rights of civilians in Carasque and other repopulated villages.
Now that peace has come, sistering continues to be an extraordinary path of learning and mutual support for both of our communities. Over the years, delegations of women, teachers, healthcare workers, small farmers, and people concerned about the impact of free trade, have visited Carasque. They have come back inspired by the power of real community, and with a desire to work together to seek solutions to problems that affect us all.
Our support for Carasque's sewing co-op is an expression of our commitment to sistering. The cooperative includes nearly fifty people crocheting, sewing and embroidering. They run the co-op democratically, make
big decisions collectively and divide their profits among the members.
Sales of their work provide one of the few sources of income, other than remittences sent home by relatives who have emigrated to the United Strates, to this village
of about 350 people.