Lula Mena works with women artisans in rural, impoverished communities in El Salvador, providing wages three times the daily average. The eponymous organization was started by Ms. Mena, a designer of eco-friendly home and fashion accessories, to help women gain economic independence and improve their families’ everyday lives and futures. Rather than children leaving school to work in low-paying agriculture jobs, for example, many of the artisans’ children are able to continue their education with the additional income their mothers earn. By combining traditional artisan techniques with locally sourced materials, such as seeds and plant fiber, Lula Mena is innovating through design, while preserving a significant link to the artisans culture.
“Now I can give my kids a better education and nutrition with the money I make. Lula has helped us enormously, without her help, we would not be growing in different areas of our lives. I like the fact that with our work, we are also helping our communities. The men collect the seeds we work with, sell them to us and everyone goes home with a little money for their families.”
— Ana Maria Santos