To encourage a group of artisans to band together while inspiring them to strive toward a common goal is something that requires both leadership and passion. Francisca Rosa Martins, otherwise known as Chica Rosa is a larger-than-life presence and has a tremendous energy to encourage women in her community to raise up their livelihood through work in handicrafts. We wanted to get her perspective on life and work in the cooperative.
ES: Hi Chica, when did you start working as an artisan?
Chica Rosa: I started in 2004
ES: When we started collaborating back then in 2004 we never imagined that these bags would end up all over the world. It still amazes us. How does that make you and the other artisans feel?
Chica: Well, first off it makes me sure to be careful to the details. It is exciting that these products are sold outside of the country. I feel that it's difficult to produce each item but I feel accomplished when I see the result of my work. To see the transformation not only of the material in a product so beautiful but also to see the ability of the women in this process...it's fantastic! In this partnership the difficulties become insignificant compared to the great satisfaction that I feel. The result of our work is that we have created this great family.
ES: What has changed since you joined the project?
Chica: The income from the production has improved our lives, it's made many friends to feel happier than before. My life has changed thanks to the income that I have with this work. We produce as a group and I love it. We are a group! We learn from each other, sometimes we are students and sometimes we are teachers.
ES: What have you been able to do for your family recently?
Chica: I bought clothing for the kids and we made a trip together to have a good time. My family and I are always together. We have had the opportunity to travel, buy gifts. On one occasion, I traveled with some artisans. That was fantastic too.
ES: Anything else?
Chica: This partnership makes me very happy.
ES: Us too.
With politics in utter chaos and so much bad news coming from Brazil we thought that it's important to underscore the fact that ordinary people in Brazil are extraordinarily resilient and still manage to survive and thrive.
Escama Studio has been working in Brazil with 65 artisans since 2004. Over that time we've made 200,000 bags and our products sell in 30 countries worldwide. From our perspective, this venture has been a great success: it's sustained us and we're proud of what we've accomplished. But we wanted to hear from the artisans what their experience has been over the past 12 years.
So today we interviewed one of the artisans, Angela Bezerra