Connecting with the Indigenous Embera Peoples of Columbia
The indigenous Embera tribe from Colombia has had more obstacles than many this year. About 300 of the Embera people were forced to leave their rainforest reserves in Colombia’s western Choco province at the beginning of the year to escape fighting by armed groups.
Most of them traveled hundreds of miles to the capital Bogota, where some scrapped a living together selling handmade jewellery on the streets – we were very lucky to meet and buy some of their wonderful work while we were in the city last February – but many of them beg on the streets to maintain their very limited income. Having already fled one crisis, they encountered another: The Corona Virus Pandemic.
Due to the five months lockdown Colombia encountered due to COVID, it meant they could no longer work as street vendors selling their arts and crafts on the streets to earn enough for what they needed to buy, including food and rent. Eventually many were forced into homelessness.
The Emberas have set up a makeshift camp in downtown Bogota, they live under cramped tents made from plastic sheeting held together with wooden sticks. Many of these families, including pregnant women and dozens of children, live in squalor. In these makeshift living arrangements they live without toilets or any form of sanitisation, which has proved to be a highly precarious and even dangerous situation. The children run about barefoot, playing with rubbish and tattered kites next to a hand painted sign that says: “Basic subsidies and decent housing for the Embera people.”
How A Helping Hand Project is Providing Care
This month, A Helping Hand Project has been able to reach some of these families with food parcels, thanks to the help of our friends and tagua suppliers in Bogota who make this possible.
Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery launched A Helping Hand Project in April, at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic in an effort to try and help our supply chain and beyond. Reaching the Emberas has not been easy since lockdown restrictions have been in place. The tribe was being protected by some organizations, and we hope that despite further restrictions or complications due to Covid-19 we’ll be able to help them even further in the future.
You can support our project “A Helping Hand Project” by buying a piece of Eco-Jewellery from Pretty Pink Eco-Jewellery as we donate 10% of our profits to help our supply chain in Colombia along with others that are in real need.