Bolivian Women Knitters

Patricia Maldonado
Posted May 12, 2015 from Bolivia
NANAY TEAM
Knitter's fine work
Knitter's fine work (1/3)

My name is Patricia Maldonado. I was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1960. Attended American and German Schools and USA University getting a BA in Graphic Design.

As soon as returning to my country and getting married, I started working in activities that would show the world the magnificent capacity of Bolivian artisans in making incredible products.

For this I developed a digital catalog of handcrafts in 1998, with one of the first digital cameras that were available in the market. I opened a local store in La Paz to use as an office where all handcrafts were sold. I was able to make then my first export of wood carvings to the US.

These were hard times in our home income, so I started making frozen desserts and distributing them to local supermarkets. It was a lot of work with both handcrafts activities, the store, baking and bringing up three children.

In 2000 Quipus Foundation in La Paz, Bolivia , hired me to work in a project to help the handcrafters of Bolivia, funded by the International Development Bank. This program lasted 6 years in which we achieved getting very good results in improving handcrafts and knitted products and getting many clients in the USA and continuous exports. In 2006 I realized that the project which even though had grown a lot, was not focusing in the growth of the people, specially in the women knitters who had such an immense potential in every aspect.

In 2007 I decided to create my own company that would allow us to continue and grow with the activities achieved with the Foundation program which at that time worked with 50 knitters. In 2007 Nanay SRL was created with two ladies that worked at the Foundation program, who each received a partnership of the company

In the last 8 years NANAY has considerably grown together with the knitters which at present time are 600 women working for the Bolivian exports of alpaca knitted products. Nanay makes sure that every workshop becomes a legal registered tax paying small enterprise leaded by a woman. Every woman knitter, head of the workshop is a big entrepreneur now. In many cases their husbands work for the workshop and are leaded by their wives. (There are many men who are masters in the knitting technique ). The Women entrepreneurs and head of their families are in charge of the main income of their homes. Most of them are mothers and responsible for their children’s education. These women’s self esteem is immeasurable now that they know what they are capable of doing. Their work goes to the highest top stores in the world such as Barneys in NY, JCrew in the US and many similar stores in Europe, Korea and Japan. Now in 2014, Nanay is a fantastic, women leaded company that works as a happy 600 persons team with a common vision of creating more and more jobs for the low income women of Bolivia. I want Nanay to keep growing and will continue working hard as much as my energies will permit me to, and then I am sure that my children will continue making this to grow and continue having the satisfaction to create more and more jobs for our incredible masters women knitters.

The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings

Comments 8

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Alyssa Rust
May 12, 2015
May 12, 2015

Dear Pattylu,

Thank you so much for sharing this story. I really enjoyed reading about all the work that you have done in Bolivia in creating the digital catalog and opening a store and the different things that occurred in your life leading up to opening your own company. Thank you for sharing about NANAY and the amazing success it is of an entrepreneurship project that has grown and has impacted 600 women! Thanks for sharing!

Sincerely, Alyssa Rust  

Kika Katchunga
May 18, 2015
May 18, 2015

The world needs people like you, for you do your dream nurtured many give the person employed, I like what you did, you were a person change God bless you and good luck in your project

Kristina M
May 19, 2015
May 19, 2015

Hello Pattylu,

Thank you for sharing the wonderful story of Nanay!  I enjoyed reading that while you were a part of a successful foundation, you realized that more could be done to help people and decided to go out on your own.  Best wishes in the continued success of the Nanay and it's workers!

Ma. Guzman-Callano
May 21, 2015
May 21, 2015

This is one awesome case which an inspire women self-help groups, Pattylu. You were very humble in relating your rags-to-riches story. I pray that  Nanay will continue to grow and expand, integrating more Bolivian women knitters into the clothing industry.

Kudos and God bless your company!

Lylinaguas
May 23, 2015
May 23, 2015

Hello Pattylu,

My sister lived in Bolivia for more than 16 years and I really appreciate the beauty of Bolivian handicrafts and hand-woven products whenever she brought some home as presents. Bolivians have such talent at this and you have given many of them not only the opportunity to show their skills but also to use these skills to be self-reliant. Your success story of Nanay is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this with us. 

Eliza Gilmore
May 27, 2015
May 27, 2015

Hi Pattylu,

I loved reading your story and learning about the women of NANAY! Would you be interested and willing to post this to the Economic Empowerment Group? It would be a great discussion-starter, I believe. You can create a new post to the Group and copy and paste your story there! Looking forward to hearing more about your great work!

Kindly,

Eliza

Patricia Maldonado
Jun 01, 2015
Jun 01, 2015

Hi Eliza

Thank you for your nice comment! I will be glad to post the story in the Economic Empowerment Group.

Best regards

Patricia

Eliza Gilmore
Jun 02, 2015
Jun 02, 2015

Wonderful, thanks Patricia! Also, check out the "Ask the Expert" blog post in the EE Group right now, by peer-to-peer fundraising expert Suzanne Mooney. We'd love for you to join the discussion! Find the post here

Warm Regards,

Eliza