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Social Impact Series: Eva Hernández Tolentino, Ama...

Social Impact Series: Eva Hernández Tolentino, Amarella – Mexico

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are showcasing the individuals who make up the artisan industry. Today, we are honoured to presentEva Hernández Tolentino who works with Amarella.

Eva Hernández Tolentino (1)

My name is Eva Hernández Tolentino. I was the first artisan to join Amarella´s team. I currently live with one of my sons, my daughter and my husband. We all contribute to our family’s financial welfare. Since I began working with Amarella I have increased my income substantially. Now I earn three times what I used to. I used to embroider part-time, now it is my full-time job and my main source of income. My daughter is also part of the team and one of her dreams is to improve her hand made skills by learning innovative designs and combinations of textures and colors.

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I live in Tenango de Doria and it has about 1,000 artisans. The great majority of them do not have a decent job. One of the main challenges is to be able to incorporate all of these artisans as part of the team. This will mean that they will all receive a fixed-income being able to improve their quality of life. Before I worked with Amarella I didn’t have a constant job. When we met this great team, things began to change. I began working with 5 artisans, which grew to 26 artisans and as of January 2016, 42 artisans joined the group. We are now 42 artisans and counting, all of whom have improved their living conditions and increased their income by 100%. We all embroider with the same type of hand made technique. Each drawing is unique, as each artisan uses different colors, textures and shapes in order to represent their inspirations. Some drawings are mythological animals, while others are emblems and symbols of the community.

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Our technique has passed from generation to generation, preserving our culture and traditions. One of our main challenge is to preserve this technique for an infinite number of years. In order to achieve this, we are willing to have a decent job that pays a fair price. As we live in marginal areas we don’t have access to distribution channels to sell our products. We would like to learn about new contemporary styles and modern combinations to be able to satisfy our clients. We also want to learn how to administrate our money in order to be able to save part of the money that we earn.

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It all began in January 2015 when the government agency that supports artisan development in Hidalgo told Amarella about the vast artisan community that you can find in Tenango De Doria. Since then we have received constant support. Amarella has improved the quality of our material resources in order to obtain a better quality for each of the products we sell. Each artisan is committed to embroider certain amount of pashminas according to the available hours they have during the day. Amarella has also provided different types of workshops in order to satisfy many of our needs.  These workshops have given us tips about how should we administer our money and how we should all work in team in order to succeed and create a network. We don’t have to take care of selling our products, as Amarella is the one in charge of finding the distribution channels. We are very happy to know that we will continue to learn different types of skills in order to improve our artisan technique and products. This will enable us to improve our living conditions and wellbeing.  

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As a team, we have developed an agreement of responsibilities, respect and solidarity that we abide to as a group. I have the privilege to be the Manager of Tenango de Doria´s community. This has helped me improve my communication skills with each member of the team. My charismatic personality has encouraged more artisans to become part of the team. I have also been able to create a support network that has helped other members of the community to improve their handmade skills. This has contributed to better designed and quality products.

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Over the years, there have been a few organizations which have come to visit us from time to time, but there hasn’t been a consistent commitment and though they have promised consistent orders, their promises have often fallen short. A fair price and a full-time job never came to be. My handmade technique was not well paid until Amarella gave it the value that deserves.

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This job has taught me the great importance of perseverance and responsibility. I definitely think is worthwhile that we are all growing and improving our lives as a community. In addition to this, the team now receives a monthly income and this enables us to afford better living conditions.  This job has also taught me to work as a group and trust the others members of the team. We have learned to help each other and learn from each other too. It is never too late to learn about the simplest things about life and now I am enriching my knowledge through Amarella´s workshops and support network.  


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