The Root Collective
I was six years old when we traveled to Guatemala. We were going to attend my cousin's baptism and decided to make a big family trip out of it.
My family has a deep connection with Central America because that's where we are from. My parents were both born and raised in Nicaragua. I was born in Honduras. After my birth we stayed in Guatemala for a month or two before moving to Miami.
I didn't grow up in Central America but my family has always kept the memories alive by telling stories, singing songs, and displaying art from their culture.
And so when I was six we made our first family trip back to Central America. We went to Guatemala City, where my aunt and her family had settled. We visited the town markets and beautiful churches and ancient ruins. The trip left such an impression in my mind because it seemed so different from my life in the United States. I had never seen poverty like I had in this place and it was overwhelming. But there was something else too - there was beauty and hope and joy. It may have seemed like the people didn't have much, and maybe they didn't, but what they did have they were proud of.
I have always admired the artisans in Guatemala. My cousin, who lives there, always brings us handmade presents for Christmas. When my husband visited the country several years ago he brought back beautiful necklaces for me to wear. What these artisans make with their hands is beyond impressive. I always wished I could visit the markets whenever I wanted, but it's just not possible to hop on a plane at a moment's notice.
When I found The Root Collective I was thrilled. This is a business that partners with artisans in Guatemala (and Kenya and Peru too!) to get their product to the masses. Otto is the man behind the shoes (my personal favorite). He grew up in La Limonada, a slum in Guatemala City. He began working as a shoemaker at the age of 10 and dreams of helping former gang members in the city by teaching them the skills he has learned. How amazing is that?!
I know there are so many people who look at the poverty in Central America and are at a loss as to what to do about it. I certainly don't have all the answers but I do know that this is a step in the right direction. Otto and the other artisans are doing amazing work. And I love that The Root Collective is partnering with them to promote change in these communities.
And one more thing that I love about purchasing through The Root Collective is that 10% of the sales is given back to local non-profits in the communities where the artisans live. Lemonade International is the non-profit organization based in Guatemala City. You can read more about them here.
As you can tell I love The Root Collective and I believe in what they're doing. I'm proud to be one of their blogger affiliates. If you're looking for some unique gifts this holiday season this is the website you need to be looking through. This is a business with a beautiful product that is doing everything they can to promote positive changes in a country that I care for deeply. Feel free to use my link or click on the ad in my sidebar. Make a difference this holiday season - and get some gorgeous comfy flats while you're at it.