2013 Projects
Daniela Talero
Milano, Nonprofit Management, NSPE

The challenge is to create job opportunities by establishing a sewing cooperative, a sense of community, and an innovative work environment for women who are heads of households, victims of domestic violence, and the political conflict in Colombia. We are working in La Merced, Colombia, a town controlled by the paramilitaries five years ago, when it had 13,000 inhabitants, since depleted to only 5,000. The town has an agriculturally based economy with few economic opportunities, and even fewer for its women and next generation. Anyone who can, leaves, either straight out of high school, or when the opportunity finally comes. Perhaps because of all the violence, or the general instability, it is difficult for the community to trust and invest in projects, so there is always a negative approach to change. The women who are a part of the project have been through terrible trials in their lives, and because of this we want to create more than a job opportunity. The goal is to change the environment completely from just being a lucrative endeavor to a place where they can feel supported and have a sense of ownership and investment in the work they do, and the future of their town.

Our solution is to put twelve sewing machines, offered to me by the Mayor’s Office to begin a sewing cooperative. I got together a group of the most marginalized women – most are heads of household, have been victims of domestic violence, or of the political conflict in Colombia, and some have the misfortune of being all three. We agreed to work together in order to make this project a reality. I have already interviewed many of them to find out more about their past, and gauge their willingness to participate. I also applied to “El SENA,” a government-sponsored education program, for a sewing course for the women, which was granted, and is expected to start this month.

In the past in La Merced, training or education projects end at this point, providing little opportunity for participants to make use of newly acquired skills. So, I also arranged for the town’s psychologist to provide group or individual therapy as a part of the routine, once the project is underway. The plan is for each woman to be paid for any garment she makes, but to have part of the payment go back into the cooperative, so they have ownership in the project by helping maintain it. There will be a schedule, allowing women to express their needs, and everyone will donate one afternoon per week to help fulfill needs on someone else’s list, be it babysitting or cooking, while the other works. I am searching for other innovative approaches to be able to change the typical work environment into one of support and multiple kinds of opportunities.

  • Esteban

    I support this beautiful iniciative. Count me in.

  • Veronica

    Congratulations on such a creative and comprehensive proposal, Daniela. I am sure you guys will take it so far.

  • Andi

    This sounds incredible. I fully support this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/morenojd Juan D Moreno

    I definitely support this initiative. It has a huge potential.

  • Laura Lopez

    Dani es demasiado bonito lo que quieres hacer con esas familias… Lo que necesites me cuentas!

  • Carolina Navas

    Congratulations for your excellent project , count on me .

  • Josie

    This sounds so great, I wholly support you and this great project

  • arlen arboleda

    dani..gracias por ese grande corazon que tienes….anything i can help u with just let me know!!!

  • Mauricio Navas

    Daniela, ya está mi voto.
    Un abrazo

  • Camilo Ruiz Talero

    cuenta con mi voto y muchos más que te voy a conseguir. Cuando ya estés metida en el cuento, si requieres consultoría gratis tambien cuenta con ella. Camilo Ruiz Talero

  • http://about.me/jelpern Jordan Elpern-Waxman

    Why is being head of household a misfortune?

    • Daniela Talero

      It is not but when you only count on one income, and there is no job to provide that income to feed your kids it is very difficult to support your family.

    • Daniela Talero

      It is not a misfortune, but when you count on only one income and there is no job to provide that income it becomes very difficult to feed your children.

  • Peggy

    I am so excited for this!

  • Gustavo Alberto Molano Ruiz

    Listo ya voté, mi padre trabajó toda su vida vendiendo máquinas de coser. Es un experto en el tema y sabe como organizar las líneas de producción de una fábrica de ropa. Si necesitan asesoría le puedo preguntar.

    • Daniela Talero

      Seria una ayuda increible. Yo vuelvo a Colombia en Diciembre, me encataria tener la oportunidad de conocerlo a usted y a su papa. Muchas gracias por su voto!!!

  • Cecilia Petit

    this is an extraordinary project, bold and visonary in scope. bravo Daniela! your efforts serve as an inspiration to us all. best of luck and keep us posted.

  • Adriana Moreno-Zarate

    My Sunshine! you did it. You make your whole family truly proud. Thank you. Keep going with a clear mind and a big heart. Love you.

  • María Paula Méndez

    Muy bueno Dani Congratulations!!!, lo que necesites acá estaré, para apoyarte.

  • María Paula G

    Iniciatives like these, are the ones that change the future in such a complex Country! Being able to truly make a difference in this community it´s what its about!

  • Nick

    It’s about time someone finally paid attention to the inequities that exist the struggling women of this region. This project is a fantastic idea, and I hope people will recognize Daniela’s leadership and do what they can to help her realize her vision.

  • Samuel

    Que linda causa!!!!

  • Maria jose v

    Great project!


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