As you’re waiting in line for your mid-day pick me up coffee this month, you may notice a vibrant display of unique hand-woven bracelets and headbands available for sale outside Starbucks. The accessories are being sold as part of the Pulsera Project by Slippery Rock’s Student Organization of Latino and Hispanic Allies (SOL) in order to educate, empower and connect Nicaraguan youth.
The Pulsera Project is a nationwide trade program that has volunteers sell pulseras (Spanish for bracelet) made by young artists in Nicaragua. Conceived in 2009, the project began when a group of friends traveling in Central America discovered a community of young artisans weaving colorful pulseras in the foothills of Nicaragua. Even though these children were talented, there was a slim market in their country for the bracelets. These juvenile artists were living in the streets or in shelters, often times trapped in poverty due to circumstances they could not themselves control. Eager to help the young weavers, the group of friends returned to the United States stocked with pulsera inventory, and began selling the bracelets around their community.
Since the projects conception, more than 1,000 schools have begun selling the bracelets, supporting more than 100 Nicaraguan artists. Proceeds from sales go directly back to the artists, and also fund scholarships, community development initiatives, support for youth shelters, sustainable energy projects, interest free micro-loans and many other programs aimed at benefitting the Nicaraguan people.
President of SOL, Yadira Lupian-Lua, says the organization is very excited to bring these colorful pulseras to SRU to raise awareness to the different art and culture.
The idea was initiated by the organizations public relations coordinator Aaron Carr, who planned to contact the Pulsera Project organization and bring the program to SRU. By sharing art, knowledge and ideas across cultural lines, the program hopes to create a more equal and colorful world.
Priced at only $5 apiece, the bracelets are a steal considering Urban Outfitters would try to sell you a similar, less ethically responsible product for five times that amount. Each accessory is one of a kind and comes attached with a picture and signature of the Nicaraguan youth by whom it was weaved.
This past Tuesday, a crowd of students gathered around the stand checking out the various options for sale.
Freshman therapeutic recreation major, Will Coffey decided to purchase a brown and green diamond patterned pulsera.
“I thought this would be a neat Christmas gift for my little sister.” Coffey said.
Karlie Gaydos, a junior therapeutic recreation major, purchased two bracelets, one for herself and one for a friend.
“The back story really pulled on my heartstrings.” Gaydos said. “I like the bracelets, they’re very trendy.”
The organization has sold 71 pulseras and one headband during common hour just this past Tuesday. SOL will continue selling the pulseras and headbands through the month of September. You can browse the collection and make purchases during common hour in either the Student Center or the Bailey Library.