Helping the Guarani of Sao Paulo

$2,557 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 29 people in 18 months
One World Projects through members of the Sao Paulo Kriya Yoga Ashram have been visiting a tribe of indigenous people, known as the Guarani. This tribe of almost 1,000 members have been kicked off their land (out of the forest),  by those who illegally cut and sell the trees for profit. To our standards, they now live in poverty on the outskirts of Sao Paulo; they do not know Western culture and language, and they are struggling just to have enough food to eat.

One World Projects, with the help of Kriya Yoga members from Sao Paulo, have begun a dialog with the tribal elders to determine how we can best help. Through several meetings with the tribal council two projects have resulted.

The first, which this campaign addresses, is to send a designer to work with their artisans, and to teach them how to develop their crafts so that they will sell in the world market. The selling of handcrafts, both domestically and internationally, will help them to generate the funds they need to purchase food and other commodities that they need.

We are working with a designer, Cristina Hernandez, from Honduras that has experience in working with artisans all over the word; in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Guatemala, Bolivia, Haiti, India, Cambodia, Laos, and Honduras. 

Cristina will be visiting the tribe in Sao Paulo, beginning the second week in July, and stay with them for one month to develop new designs, using their current art forms,that will be more acceptable in the market, and also identify new materials and art forms that they can produce. She is gifting her time and expertise, but needs help in covering the costs of the airfare; which currently seems to be about $1,300; roundtrip from Tegucigalpa,  Honduras to Sao Palo, Brazil.

A second project is to send someone who has knowledge of agroforestry, and who can show them how to plant and harvest crops in a sustainable way so as to grow the food that they need.

This project with the Guarani is considered the first in which we hope will be many such projects, with the Kriya Yoga Institute, to spread compassion all over the world, along with opportunities for kriyavans and others to become involved in compassionate service.

A movie has been made, depicting some of the Guarani, by some of the members of the Kriya Yoga ashram in Sao Paulo. You can view it here.
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We’ve just returned from our first visit with the Guarani. Six kriyavans; Luciana, Eliane, Juliana, Edson, Silvana and Vania joined me on the trip that is more than a two hour drive from the Sao Paulo ashram. This Guarani tribe, which is Southeast of Sao Paulo, consists of 7 small villages with 40 – 50 people in each village, and a larger village which is closer to the city consisting of approximately 900 people.

The kriyavans brought with them a car full of food to be gifted to the tribe, consisting fruits and vegetables, beans, rice, flower, milk, many canned items, and much more.

We also brought with us samples of handcrafts to show the Guarani, that are produced from resources that can be sustainably harvested / found in the forest; many of which are produced by other indigenous tribes throughout South America. The Guarani themselves also setup a table displaying the handcrafts that they currently produce; including beaded jewelry, woven baskets, and wood carvings.

We talked to Jerá, the tribal leader, and some of the other tribe members that came, about fair trade and our hopes for helping them to obtain some revenue to improve their lives. Jerá made it clear that it is not their intention to make lots of money by producing handcrafts; they only want to make a sufficient amount so that they can purchase some plants and seeds to grow food, and to provide for some basic necessities that they need. The Guarani want to continue to maintain a simple and sustainable lifestyle in the forest, preserving as much as possible of their language and culture.

I was impressed by Jerá, even though she is the leader of a tribe consisting of seven small villages and one that is much larger, she is constantly serving others; cooking for all of her visitors and washing the dishes, a mother who is caring for a baby and her children, working in the gardens, and performing the duties required as a leader of the villages. She is constantly busy and always helping others.

There was much interest in the products that we showed them; Jerá particularly liked the palm hat, gourd purse and the Shipibo seed necklaces. After a lot of discussion and contemplation, they have decided that they would like to begin by learning how to make Floral Gift Cards, Glass Beaded Items, Orange Peel Jewelry, and Gourd Products. We are sharing with them artisans videos and some tips for how to make these items, and leaving also the samples that we have brought to share.

Jerá took us on a walk along one of their trails in the forest to a garden to harvest some corn for lunch and for dinner. This is the first year that they have been able to grow their own corn and they were very happy with the results. They are also growing many species of sweet potatoes that the kriyavans in Sao Paulo have help them to acquire, plant and occasionally make trips to help them maintain their gardens.

The houses of the Guarani are very simple; made of logs that come from the forest and sealed with mud, and with roofs made of metal. They have several large plastic tanks in the village that are filled with water that is supplied from a well that they have made. The bathrooms consist of very modest outhouses, and the showers are also taken in the open (no walls or curtains) in the outdoors.

The last activity of the day or the beginning of the night (at twilight), before departing for bed, is that people of the village come together at the Sacred House or House of Prayer. The sacred house is a very large, one-room log house, with a fire at the West end of the building and guitars, violins, drums, and other ethnic instruments at the East end. They spend time talking with each other, drinking mate tea, listening to music, singing, chanting, and praying. This is also a time for healing. This activity can be anywhere from one to several hours.

After the activities were completed at the Sacred House we went to some rooms that had been made available to us, by an anthropological association called Centro de Trabalho Indigenista, approximately a mile from the village. Lucas, who is an anthropologist, works for this association that has been working with Gaurani people for more than 10 years, helping them to preserve their way of life and culture.

The following morning we returned to the village to talk with Jerá about our plans for the week. We left with her the samples of those products that they had interest in trying to develop and showed her some videos of artisans producing similar products.

The rest of this week we have our work cut out for us; we will be visiting stores in Sao Paulo to find sources and prices for craft supplies / materials, and to purchase samples of dyes, glass & seed beads, cording, jewelry findings, cards & envelopes, gourds, gourd wax and more. Identifying the prices will help the Guarani to set fair prices that will not only cover their cost for the materials that go into their products but also provide them a fair wage for producing them. The samples will also give them a start in learning to produce new products. In addition, we will be shopping this week for various tools that the artisans will need to produce crafts; ie: drill presses, bench grinders, Dremel tools, and pyrography and wood burning tools.

We will also be exploring the laws and regulations that govern exports and looking for local people that can help in that effort.

Because it will take a little time for artisans to learn the skills that they must master to produce the new products, we will also be purchasing samples and placing a small order for the crafts that they already produce which have potential. As these product are available, we will let you know about them.

Again, we thank all of you who, through your compassion, have helped to support this project to help the Guarani tribal people cope with the pressures that that the external world / society has thrust upon them by destroying their lands and life-style. We pray for them with the hope that God will find a way to once again let them live as they are accustom, in the forest, and to preserve their language and culture.
Jera and others looking at products.
Guarani Home, Sacred House, Jera's House
Harvesting Corn
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I want to thank all of you who have supported this project with your donations.

Finally, it is getting off the ground; after several months of delay i will be leaving for Sao Paulo on Wednesday morning to work with the Guarani tribal artisans.

A draft schedule has been worked out with the kriyavans at the ashram, that outlines the activities for my two week trip.

I will arrive on Thursday morning, and will be at the ashram for the next two days working with kriyavans who have adopted the Gurani tribal people as a compassionate service project; helping them to sustainably grow and harvest crops that can be a food source and helping in other ways. We will be reviewing our schedules for the next couple of weeks, our objectives and the activities that need to be done to accomplish them.

On Saturday, February 24, we will be making our first trip to the visit the tribe and staying with them through the weekend. I’m bringing with me two suitcases full of handcrafts to share with them; most are items that are produced from sustainable resources found in the forest, and some are produced by other indigenous tribes in South America. All have been popular in the market and can be used as a source for ideas. These samples include:

• Seed Jewelry, Eye Pillows and other Textiles from the Shipibo artisans in Peru
• Bracelets made of Cana Flecha by the Zenu artisans of Colombia
• Figurines made from Balata (a natural rubber latex) by the Nappi artisans of Guyana
• Shoulder bags woven from natural plant fibers by Ayoreo women of Bolivia
• Orange Peel Jewelry from Colombia
• Painted earrings and pendants made from Gourds in Colombia
• Etched Gourd Boxes from Peru
• Woven Baskets from various plant fibers, also Peru
• Floral Gift Cards made with local flower petals and plants in El Salvador
• Beaded Key Chains and Jewelry from Guatemala
• Purses made from Coconut Shells in the Philippines
• Plates, and kitchen utensils made from sustainably harvested wood from Guatemala and the Philippines
• Bird houses made of vine and vetiver from Haiti
• Cinnamon boxes made in Vietnam
• ….and more

In the first visit, this weekend, we will be exploring the natural resources that the tribe has access, which can be used for producing crafts and that can be collected / harvested in a sustainable manner; seeds, gourds, plant fibers, leaves and flowers, and even tree bark and wood. We will be stressing the need to protect their environment and where possible to restore and improve it; for it is this very nature that provides for their livelihood and sustains them. Probably, being an indigenous people that have lived in the forest for many generations, and caring for Mother Nature is already in-grained in their culture; still it is important for them to know that is important to us as well and that we support their efforts to protect the planet.

We will also be exploring their artistic talents / skills; do they like to weave, carve, sculpt, string jewelry, sew and embroider, etc. In sharing with them the many samples that we have brought, they will begin to see the quality and types of products that are wanted in the international market. Through our mutual sharing, it will help us to understand better how we can work together to help the tribal artisans and their families. We will learn from them their culture and capabilities and hopefully inspire some to look at their art in another way and try new things.

I am hoping to provide you with several updates over the next couple of weeks that report on the progress of the trip and includes interesting photos.

Again, thank you all for being part of this compassionate project.

With Loving and humble regards, phil

Kriyavans lounging in a Guarani kitchen
Photo of Guarani Handcrafts
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Pranams to all of you. We wish to thank you for your compassionate giving. We have reached our first goal of raising the funds to send a designer to Sao Paulo to work with the Guarani.

We would like to keep the momentum going and to start raising some funds to cover the costs of purchasing the tools and supplies that they will need to begin producing their crafts, and also for the harvesting of crops for eating.

The Guarani leaders have mentioned that they need simple tools that we would use in the garden: eg. shovels, rakes, hoes, etc.

This week we will be purchasing the ticket to send Cristina to work with them on their handcrafts.

Thank you so much for you compassion, and for helping to improve the lives of others

Any donation will be put to good use to serve the Guarani people and we will give you updates as we go.

With humble regards, phil
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$2,557 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 29 people in 18 months
Created June 3, 2017
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Judith Jordan Kalush
15 months ago

This is a promised contribution as a percentage of sales for my Fair Trade Store, Love what you are doing.

18 months ago
Santosh Sutradhar
18 months ago

May God bless them

18 months ago
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18 months ago
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