Arte Comasagua from El Salvador
The town of Comasagua lies in the lush mountains of El Salvador, a tropical paradise where wildflowers, fruit trees, and coffee plantations thrive year round. But in 2001 a devastating 7.7 magnitude earthquake and resulting mudslides leveled much of the town, wiping out the local economy and leaving many of its residents without homes, food, jobs, or any means of support.
A local architect named Ana Rosa Graf decided she could bring economic growth to her community by creating a market for handicrafts using the area's most abundant natural resource -- wildflowers. In 2003, Arte Comasagua started with a small group of women artisans determined to create beautiful floral designs and build a better future for their families.
Today, in a bright yellow house in the heart of Comasagua, sixteen women artisans have found financial independence by crafting stunning handmade greeting cards using a plethora of wildflowers, grasses, and almond leaves. After gathering and pressing the flora, they design breathtaking one-of-a-kind landscapes, nativities, and scenes of mothers with children. Perhaps best of all, they're able to bring their children to work and have become a true community.
For most, the income generated by their artwork is a primary means of support, enabling them to pay for food, housing, and medical care for their families.
Through her work, an artisan named Roxana has been able to get medical care for a daughter who suffers from debilitating Guillain-Barre disease. After two years of treatment, her daughter is 80% cured and plans to return to school to become a chef. She credits her mother's positive attitude and hard work with helping her keep her dreams alive during her illness.
Despite the challenges they face, the Arte Comasagua community is thankful to live in an area that blooms with wildflowers throughout the year, enabling them to gather the resources they need without making a negative impact on the planet.
Learn more and watch artisans make beautiful floral artwork: