Global Activism: Fair Trade Business Helps Indigenous Women Of Colombia

Wayuu indigenous women walk along a dirt street in their community of Albania, Colombia, on Sept. 9, 2015. The Wayuu for centuries have dominated life on La Guajira peninsula, the northernmost tip of South America, first resisting conquest by Spain and since independence freely crossing the Colombian-Venezuelan border that arbitrarily divides clans in their ancestral homeland.
Wayuu indigenous women walk along a dirt street in their community of Albania, Colombia, on Sept. 9, 2015. The Wayuu for centuries have dominated life on La Guajira peninsula, the northernmost tip of South America, first resisting conquest by Spain and since independence freely crossing the Colombian-Venezuelan border that arbitrarily divides clans in their ancestral homeland. AP Photo/Fernando Vergara
Wayuu indigenous women walk along a dirt street in their community of Albania, Colombia, on Sept. 9, 2015. The Wayuu for centuries have dominated life on La Guajira peninsula, the northernmost tip of South America, first resisting conquest by Spain and since independence freely crossing the Colombian-Venezuelan border that arbitrarily divides clans in their ancestral homeland.
Wayuu indigenous women walk along a dirt street in their community of Albania, Colombia, on Sept. 9, 2015. The Wayuu for centuries have dominated life on La Guajira peninsula, the northernmost tip of South America, first resisting conquest by Spain and since independence freely crossing the Colombian-Venezuelan border that arbitrarily divides clans in their ancestral homeland. AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

Global Activism: Fair Trade Business Helps Indigenous Women Of Colombia

The indigenous Wayúu tribe lives in Colombia’s Guajira desert, most without running water, electricity or decent roads for access to basic necessities. Because their region borders Venezuela, governing ambiguities leave the Wayúu vulnerable to further insecurity and violence.

Zulima Anaya, born in the Wayúu region, along with Chicagoans and Colombia natives, Laura McMahon and Nadia Roberts, started the fair trade business Susu Accessories. Their goal is to better the lives of Wayúu women. Susu’s business model is to buy direct from Wayúu knitters, “ensuring they receive the highest possible compensation for their labor.” Susu also “invest[s] in community projects at the direction of the Wayúu.”

For our Global Activism segment, we’ll speak with McMahon and Roberts about how their business helps alleviates the difficulties the Wayúu face.