It is slightly difficult to believe that the simple power of knots can end up forming such a tight knit community. This is what the Macrame Project is about. Based in Ecuador, the Macrame project is a community development project that utilizes the age-old appeal of macrame to create hand-crafted macrame bracelets and household items. Macrame bracelets are delightful in their color and textures, and when combined with beads, shells or stones, the appeal is truly enhanced. Unlike weaving or knitting, macrame uses knotting to make decorative threads. The threads have a range of uses, from bags, to bracelets, to plant hangers and so on. They are a throw back to earlier times when the knots were used by sailors as decorations for ships. From the sailors, the craft of macrame passed to the mainstream and gradually began to get popular for their colors and durability.
The Eden’s Rose Foundation helps indigenous communities around the world support themselves through diverse programs. The Macrame Project is one of their community development programs. Mostly when handcrafted items are sold the profits do not reach the people of the community in their entirety, or some of the profits get swallowed up in commissions. The Macrame Project seeks to reverse this trend by using Direct Trade to put the money directly in the hands of the people doing the work. So the hands that craft the beautiful macrame bracelets are the ones that receive the money.
The project works scientifically by doing a needs and skills assessment of the community. Efforts are made to highlight the native skills that may have gradually begun to get displaced in the community and launch educational and skills training programs. The community projects are used to raise funds for the social development programs.
It is an organic way of doing things, and the Macrame Bracelet blog also reflects this. It leads the casual viewer right in with large, lifelike photos of the macrame bracelets. The aim seems to be to put even the casual viewer in touch with the people and the work happening in the background. Through visuals, informative articles and active interaction through social media, it connects the people and the prospective buyer in a direct link. Various ways are used to mobilize support, with different levels of involvement showcased in the blog, including browsing, sharing the link on social media sites, helping through volunteer contributions and directly buying the macrame bracelets. The direct interaction style of the blog is done in a way that would enthuse even the casual passerby and draw them in.
The story of the macrame bracelets seems to have depth as well as scope to expand as it keeps involving more and more of the local community. The ultimate aim: Create self-financing projects for overall growth of the community in an echo of Indian philosopher Swami Vivekanandaís insistence on self-sufficiency: “All the wealth of the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves.”