Photos/ indigenous Women in Bolivia embroider stories in their masks

“This is the work of women that is visibilizando in the craft, I ask for help to the authorities that we will cooperate having this opportunity to make ourselves known to the world,” said Ana Alicia Layme.


The need to comply with the rules of biosecurity to pandemic covid-19 moved to the family of the bolivian Ana Alicia Layme to create their own barbijos (face mask), which in addition to protecting your health also tell the story of their community through their embroidery.

Given the requirement of the use of masks in the province of Ayata, about 145 kilometers from La Paz, the mother of Layme devised a way to make their masks with materials available in your home, because there were not enough barbijos in the place, told Efe this indigenous woman.

Layme is pulled out a photograph with the mask made by his mother with some embroidery “showing your culture” and in a matter of hours they started to “bombardearle” with orders for its originality.

Female entrepreneurship

The young woman and four of her family members put their hands to work to fulfill their first orders, but then needed more help with the demand and went to about 500 women of her province to join in this effort through the association Wayatex, that offer their preparations.

“90% of the sisters there (in your province) manufacture their clothing, original and from girls learn to embroider and have the ability to work, and we like it,” he said.

It is as well which has already sold more than a thousand barbijos in less than a month and the women in your community prepare another batch of another similar amount, most of which are already reserved and sold especially in The Peace, in addition to other departments of the country.

The “brothers” of other departments such as Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, there have been ways to get here and are like our sponsors”, stated the entrepreneur.

Layme pointed out that even communicated with her from the united States, Germany and Spain to make orders of face masks, but has “no idea” of how to send them and she used to ask for help to the bolivian Government so that they can provide you the shipping when can.

“This is the work of women that is visibilizando in the craft, I ask for help to the authorities that we will cooperate having this opportunity to make ourselves known to the world”, he stressed.

Stories embroidered

These unique masks are made of “cloth of the land”, a tissue in the Highlands made of wool of sheep, and behind they have a fabric lining, where you can insert a cloth for additional safety, and forward has a different hand embroideries.

Each embroidered tries to “tell a story” of the everyday life of their community, and they know how to live in the place.

“We have worked to reflect the family, because I believe that in this quarantine, we are a family united, in my community is the mom, the son, the dad, and the animal with which we live in,” said Layme.

There are others that show women spinning, working in the field, the mother charged in the back to one of his children, surrounded by greenery, accompanied by other members of his family, and animals such as llamas, vicuñas, and goats.

There are also masks made with fabric aguayo, a woven andean typical colors, and there are other, more elaborate, that it takes at least two days in accomplishing them by the complexity of the embroidery, that show figures such as the condor.

Layme has the desire to create a school to teach embroidery to all stakeholders and that help to make these masks initially and as well comply with all orders, but at the same time preserving this ancestral knowledge that is gradually losing.

She would like this school to be in your community, to reach other women in other provinces there and also that way to promote their land and return it in the future a tourist attraction.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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