Pine Basket Cooperative
Helping the children of Fabretto involves more than just the children, it also means helping their families.
In 2002, Fabretto helped start the Pinos Fabrettinos initiative which is now a legally incorporated, self standing and successful cooperative made up of women from Cusmapa and the surrounding rural communities.
The women of this remote mountain village often have little education, few marketable skills, and even fewer opportunities for gainful employment. Membership in the cooperative provides them with a chance to earn personal income, gain new skill sets, and feel pride in their achievements.
History of the Pine Basket Initiative
Located in the northern region of Nicaragua, Cusmapa’s landscape is filled with pine trees. A traditional art form in the northern Atlantic Coast of the country has always been basket weaving using the long pine needles gathered from the forest floor. However, this traditional Nicaraguan folk art was not practiced in Cusmapa until a group of local women attended a workshop and learned the craft. The initial formation of the group was led by Manon Cypher, an American JVI volunteer serving with Fabretto in Cusmapa in 2002. She began her work with 5 local women, the nascent group that would eventually become Pinos Fabrettinos. (Many years later, we are happy to note that Manon remains involved with Fabretto and serves on our Advisory Board!)
Today, the cooperative offers over 40 local women the chance to earn wages over and above their regular family income, sometimes 2 or 3 times as much, depending on their personal production. The women make the baskets at home, on their own schedule, and produce as many or as few as each wishes. When ready, they bring the baskets to the cooperative's store in Cusmapa, where the baskets are tagged and packaged for sale. Pinos Fabrettinos items are sold in Nicaraguan street markets and right here on our website!
The women of Pinos Fabrettinos have not only earned financial independence, they have also taken the management and advocacy skills they learned in running the cooperative out to their community. Many of them now play important roles in the civic leadership of Cusmapa and the surrounding villages. Together, they have created a loud voice for their own rights and those of their children!