Sara Wiener, owner of Sara Bella Upcycled, traveled to Guatemala City recently to assist nonprofit, Safe Passage, in developing an income-generating project for the women in the Guatemala City garbage dump community.
“It’s important to teach people how to do something they can generate income from,” Wiener said. “The materials are mostly free- plastic bags collected at the nearby dump in Guatemala City, and they learned the technique of fusing the bags into beautiful, durable fabric to then be sewn into tote bags, purses, etc. and sold to both tourists and locals alike.”
Wiener participated in a similar project in 2010 when she traveled to San Pancho in Mexico to teach participants at the non-profit, Entres Amigos.
“These women [in Guatemala City and San Pancho]need income generating projects that can pull them out of poverty,” Wiener explained. “The goal was to teach the skills/fusing techniques and share patterns to make purses, totes, wallets, bibs, etc.”
Wiener’s daughter Bella and friend Ella Feldmann, seniors at Bend High School, assisted her during the classes and helped to translate/interpret.
In addition to assisting the women of the Guatemala City garbage dump, Safe Passage serves over 550 children, ranging in age from 2 to 21 years, coming from nearly 300 families in the surrounding neighborhoods.