Our Story

Me

My name is Claudia Patricia Henríquez Iguarán from the Urariyú clan, born in Nazareth, La Alta Guajira, my parents are Julio Ignacio Henríquez Rosero, originally from Pasto, Nariño, and my mother Lucila Iguarán Villa, from the Urariyú clan, both very hard workers. My Father belonged to the Police (retired) and my mother was a great merchant who, from a very young age, dedicated herself to local commerce, after having completed her studies in the city of Barranquilla.

From them I learned the responsibility and dedication to everything that one undertakes in his/her life and that good values must be the basis of our lives. They also taught me something very important, the sense of social responsibility that we must have to face the needs that exist in La Guajira. We can not remain indifferent in the face of so many needs around us, especially what affects the smaller population, that is, girls and boys, indigenous women and the elderly.   

Instilling in me and my siblings to have my values as the basis of my life is my parent's greatest legacy.

I did my first studies at the "Nazareth Indigenous Boarding School", up to the fifth grade of primary school, because at that time, there was only the possibility of studying primary school. Nowadays, the indigenous people from Nazareth and other small towns (mainly from Puerto Estrella and Siapana) have the possibility of starting and finishing primary and secondary education. Later, my parents took me to the "Normal Antonia Santos", in the Department of Santander, with the aim of continuing my studies of secondary school, where I finished my studies and gained a conviction to continue training as a medical professional with the objective of working one day in the Indigenous communities of my Department (La Guajira).  

Young Doctor 

Thank God that has been the case, where 95% of my experience has been working in and with the indigenous communities of my beloved Guajira.

I'm glad to have worked for and with the Wayúu people for almost all my life.

My first years, as well as much of my experience has been working at the ESE Hospital de Nazareth, in the small town that bears the same name, where I learned a lot from Dr. Luis Ramiro Uribe, who worked as the Hospital Director for more than 30 years. Dr. Uribe left us a legacy that we can not lose, this being the interculturality in the health services, and even more so when this Hospital is the only health services provider in the Alta Guajira. The indigenous consider it as their second home, where they look for solutions not only to their health problems, but water, electric power, and connectivity when required, among others. 

On the 2nd of April 2012, I assumed a big challenge and it was to manage the Nazareth Hospital, preceeding Dr. Uribe.

Taking over a director of this hospital have been my greatest challenge and achievement.

So I decided to work in an organized way and along with the Indigenous Communities. I used to visit often the Communities, both closeby and far away in the desert with the aim of listening to them, not only about their problems but also about their proposals to possible solutions. This experience was very enriching, each day I learned more from them and got convinced that evidently, the indigenous population are very wise, they have an ancient and ancestral wisdom that enriches anyone who is ready to listen to them and put all that knowledge into practice. In my case, I applied it in the health sector with the aim of strengthening them and achieving greater demand in health services while respecting interculturality.  

Realising Difficulties

One of the many problems facing the Indigenous population of La Guajira is and continues to be Tuberculosis, thanks God is curable and it's treatment is free. However, with regards to indigenous population, a free treatment does not solve the whole problem. Our indigenous people live in rural and scattered areas with difficult access, and all the routes in the Alta Guajira are 'trails', commonly called roads, some stony and others full of sand, making their and our mobility and transfer of patients very difficult. Access gets even harder because we also do not have electricity that guarantees light 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and the saddest thing is that in the Alta Guajira, where Nazareth and and most of the Wayúu are located, we lack a reliable source of potable water.

Living in rural areas almost all my life taught me how basic needs make a huge difference.

This is the evil that is ending with the lives of our children, as well as with the animals and agriculture of the region. That is why our mission has been to strengthen the artisanal work as a means of subsistence for the indigenous of the Alta Guajira.

A story that is worth telling is how an Antioqueno (from Antioquia) Doctor (non-indigenous) managed to win the love and respect from all the inhabitants of the Region. Dr. Luis Ramiro Uribe, who with the support of Community Leaders like Mr. Gervasio Valdeblánquez, began the creation of the necessary hospital infrastructure to allow Indigenous patients with Tuberculosis to remain during the 6 months of supervised treatment within the Hospital, guaranteeing the treatment and cure of the disease. He called it DOT/TAES Estrategy (shortened treatment and strictely supervised). What made this even more remarkable is that this humanitarian work was respecting their lifestyle, their beliefs and customs, even during their disease, by allowing the accompaniment of their relatives and making them feel in their habitat, in their environment and with their families.

I've learned that taking the first step towards action is key - even if alone -, then like-minded people will join.

It is expensive and resource consuming to apply this model, however it is necessary if tuberculosis is to be eradicated among the Wayúu. Currently the only health institution that applies this strategy well in La Guajira is the Hospital of Nazareth. Since it is not easy to stay in a health institution for a long time, this initiative had a lot of acceptability from the indigenous population and has avoided the voluntary withdrawals of patients by their relatives, avoided relapses of the disease, and minimize the chain of transmission to the other members of the family and community.

First Trial

It is from them that while I was working as Director of the Hospital of Nazareth, I saw the need for Indigenous patients with Tuberculosis after having completed phase one of the treatment (when they already felt better, active and were better fed), to feel productive to support their children and continue to contribute to their families and that the disease was not a limitation to continue being heads of family. This is why at that time I formulated a small productive project called "Einaá Eiyajaa" which means "Weaving to Heal".

I decided to start a foundation and join forces while serving as director of the Nazareth Hospital.

I submitted it in the National Guajira Regional Learning Service (SENA) and in the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), with the objective that the former Institution support us with the development of training programs to improve new artisan's weaving technique, design and costing of their products and at the same time provide us with the first supplies for the project, such as threads, needles, handicraft machines to make guaireñas (traditional Wayúu shoes), and looms to make hammocks and chinchorros.

 This (SENA) being an institution that has as mission to invest in the social and technical development of Colombian workers, offering and executing comprehensive professional training for the incorporation and development of people in productive activities that contribute to the social, economic and technological development of the country; and to the ICBF I requested the support to be able to integrate the patients with tuberculosis to some of their nutritional support programs (infant, pregnant mothers, elderly, among others) with the objective of strengthening their nutrition, some of whom have some degree of malnutrition. Since this institution (ICBF) is the entity responsible for the nutrition policies in Colombia, it has an institutional strategy called "Ethnic Territories with Wellbeing" that seeks to support initiatives of indigenous communities that promote the well-being, coexistence and development of their families, through actions that strengthen and recover their cultural traditions and values and their food self-sufficiency.

I believe that being able to ask for help in a cause you believe in, is a virtue and a necessity.

The Colombian Family Welfare Instituto (ICBF), is the entity of the Colombian state that works for the prevention and integral protection of early childhood, childhood, adolescence and the wellbeing of families in Colombia, providing special attention to those in conditions of threat, non-observance or violation of their rights.

That is why we insisted a lot for this small productive project to come true, but unfortunately it was not possible.

Pursuing the Dream

However, I always had the conviction that one day I could achieve it either by representing an Institution of the Government, or independently, that is why in January of 2017 when I decided to take the leap and start an online store, that I called Washein, little I knew about how to run a business or even how to sell a product, however, I learned a lot during the process.

I decided to take the leap and start Washein while serving as a doctor.

I was working on Washein during the weekends and some nights during the week, choosing colors and designs, organizing logistics and packing orders. Little by little I began to spend more of my free time organising and finding a way to achieve it, but this time starting with artisans from the communities near the Serranía de la Macuira. I started Washein with the aim of supporting them in the commercialization of their handicraft products, I established a costing study with them so they were able to obtain a fair profit from them and in this way contributing to the improvement of their quality of life and health.

This was the beginning of the "Einaá Eiyajaa Foundation" and "Washein". I decided to do this work with my family: my husband Jorge Luis López Ibarra, also an indigenous person, my brother Julio Belisario Henríquez Iguarán, my sister María Isabel Henríquez Iguarán and her eldest son Ahmed Charanek Henríquez, a young professional based in London, who are very enthusiastic, organized and maintaining a sense of social responsibility. With all this work so far, we have managed to improve the quality of life of large indigenous families in the Alta Guajira.  

Washein

The artisanal hats and basket bags that I sell are 100% handmade by Wayuu artisans that I have personally known since my childhood. On one of those trips to La Serranía de La Macuira, I observed them on the shore of the spring of water (which only exists in winter) called La Batea, admiring how through their skillful hands they manage to weave their dreams, materialized in a true piece of art, to which I invite you to give a better value. By creating awareness and social responsibility, we value their skills and honesty in each work done with much love, but also with much effort and dedication.  

Every single hat and bag is especial, made and painted by hand. The artisans are involved in all the process, from dying the straw filaments, to carefully weaving the hats and bags and finally trimming and cleaning them. The pompons that decorate them are weaved by a group of Wayúu women from a different community, that live in Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira. They create beautiful designs and colourful combinations that give the final touch to each piece.

Giving Back

At this moment we are extending the beneficiary families and organizing with them more ways in which to help. We strongly insist in teaching them the costing of their products, since it is common to see artisans commercialising them in a very poor way, exchanging their very valuable products for little money that is not even enough to cover their basic needs.

Educating artisans on the value of their craft is one of our aims. 

We are also working on the improvement of quality and technique of handicraft products, and to be able to market them through Washein, not only in Colombia, but also abroad. A percentage of the sales collected will go to the Foundation, and once we manage to gather sufficient resources we plan to take this model to the different Health Institutions of the Department of La Guajira, guaranteeing the acceptance of the Indigenous population to remain in the Health Institutions while feeling culturally and socially at home, as well as receiving a treatment not only shortened but supervised. 

In this way the cure of the disease would be achieved.

And of course one of the Health Institutions that will be a model is the ESE Hospital of Nazareth, where I am from, with the objective of strengthening the implementation and extension of the DOT/TAES Estrategy while implementing strategies to improve the supervision in the administration of treatments and adherence to the schemes based on support for patient, which is the priority of this project. The beneficiary would be the patients assisted in the Health Institutions in the Department of La Guajira. An important mission of this project is supporting the conditions for them to do the artisanal works as well as selling them while receiving the treatment, making them feel useful and productive. Likewise, we wish to carry out Indigenous Women's Empowerment workshops through artisanal work. 

This proposal supports the social inclusion of patients with tuberculosis within their families and communities, implementing a program of nutritional supplementation to the native families and communities, of the patients hospitalized in health institutions and would be carried out in parallel with the development of the DOTS/TAS strategy of each health institution.

Nazareth, La Guajira


Our Story

Me

My name is Claudia Patricia Henríquez Iguarán from the Urariyú clan, born in Nazareth, La Alta Guajira, my parents are Julio Ignacio Henríquez Rosero, originally from Pasto, Nariño, and my mother Lucila Iguarán Villa, from the Urariyú clan, both very hard workers. My Father belonged to the Police (retired) and my mother was a great merchant who, from a very young age, dedicated herself to local commerce, after having completed her studies in the city of Barranquilla.

From them I learned the responsibility and dedication to everything that one undertakes in his/her life and that good values must be the basis of our lives. They also taught me something very important, the sense of social responsibility that we must have to face the needs that exist in La Guajira. We can not remain indifferent in the face of so many needs around us, especially what affects the smaller population, that is, girls and boys, indigenous women and the elderly.   

Instilling in me and my siblings to have my values as the basis of my life is my parent's greatest legacy.

I did my first studies at the "Nazareth Indigenous Boarding School", up to the fifth grade of primary school, because at that time, there was only the possibility of studying primary school. Nowadays, the indigenous people from Nazareth and other small towns (mainly from Puerto Estrella and Siapana) have the possibility of starting and finishing primary and secondary education. Later, my parents took me to the "Normal Antonia Santos", in the Department of Santander, with the aim of continuing my studies of secondary school, where I finished my studies and gained a conviction to continue training as a medical professional with the objective of working one day in the Indigenous communities of my Department (La Guajira).  

Young Doctor 

Thank God that has been the case, where 95% of my experience has been working in and with the indigenous communities of my beloved Guajira. 

I'm glad to have worked for and with the Wayúu people for almost all my life.

My first years, as well as much of my experience has been working at the ESE Hospital de Nazareth, in the small town that bears the same name, where I learned a lot from Dr. Luis Ramiro Uribe, who worked as the Hospital Director for more than 30 years. Dr. Uribe left us a legacy that we can not lose, this being the interculturality in the health services, and even more so when this Hospital is the only health services provider in the Alta Guajira. The indigenous consider it as their second home, where they look for solutions not only to their health problems, but water, electric power, and connectivity when required, among others. 

On the 2nd of April 2012, I assumed a big challenge and it was to manage the Nazareth Hospital, preceeding Dr. Uribe.

Taking over a director of this hospital have been my greatest challenge and achievement.

So I decided to work in an organized way and along with the Indigenous Communities. I used to visit often the Communities, both closeby and far away in the desert with the aim of listening to them, not only about their problems but also about their proposals to possible solutions. This experience was very enriching, each day I learned more from them and got convinced that evidently, the indigenous population are very wise, they have an ancient and ancestral wisdom that enriches anyone who is ready to listen to them and put all that knowledge into practice. In my case, I applied it in the health sector with the aim of strengthening them and achieving greater demand in health services while respecting interculturality.  

Realising Difficulties

One of the many problems facing the Indigenous population of La Guajira is and continues to be Tuberculosis, thanks God is curable and it's treatment is free. However, with regards to indigenous population, a free treatment does not solve the whole problem. Our indigenous people live in rural and scattered areas with difficult access, and all the routes in the Alta Guajira are 'trails', commonly called roads, some stony and others full of sand, making their and our mobility and transfer of patients very difficult. Access gets even harder because we also do not have electricity that guarantees light 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and the saddest thing is that in the Alta Guajira, where Nazareth and and most of the Wayúu are located, we lack a reliable source of potable water.

Living in rural areas almost all my life taught me how basic needs make a huge difference.

This is the evil that is ending with the lives of our children, as well as with the animals and agriculture of the region. That is why our mission has been to strengthen the artisanal work as a means of subsistence for the indigenous of the Alta Guajira.

A story that is worth telling is how an Antioqueno (from Antioquia) Doctor (non-indigenous) managed to win the love and respect from all the inhabitants of the Region. Dr. Luis Ramiro Uribe, who with the support of Community Leaders like Mr. Gervasio Valdeblánquez, began the creation of the necessary hospital infrastructure to allow Indigenous patients with Tuberculosis to remain during the 6 months of supervised treatment within the Hospital, guaranteeing the treatment and cure of the disease. He called it DOT/TAES Estrategy (shortened treatment and strictely supervised). What made this even more remarkable is that this humanitarian work was respecting their lifestyle, their beliefs and customs, even during their disease, by allowing the accompaniment of their relatives and making them feel in their habitat, in their environment and with their families.

I've learned that taking the first step towards action is key - even if alone -, then like-minded people will join.

It is expensive and resource consuming to apply this model, however it is necessary if tuberculosis is to be eradicated among the Wayúu. Currently the only health institution that applies this strategy well in La Guajira is the Hospital of Nazareth. Since it is not easy to stay in a health institution for a long time, this initiative had a lot of acceptability from the indigenous population and has avoided the voluntary withdrawals of patients by their relatives, avoided relapses of the disease, and minimize the chain of transmission to the other members of the family and community.

First Trial

It is from them that while I was working as Director of the Hospital of Nazareth, I saw the need for Indigenous patients with Tuberculosis after having completed phase one of the treatment (when they already felt better, active and were better fed), to feel productive to support their children and continue to contribute to their families and that the disease was not a limitation to continue being heads of family. This is why at that time I formulated a small productive project called "Einaá Eiyajaa" which means "Weaving to Heal". 

I decided to start a foundation and join forces while serving as director of the Nazareth Hospital.

I submitted it in the National Guajira Regional Learning Service (SENA) and in the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), with the objective that the former Institution support us with the development of training programs to improve new artisan's weaving technique, design and costing of their products and at the same time provide us with the first supplies for the project, such as threads, needles, handicraft machines to make guaireñas (traditional Wayúu shoes), and looms to make hammocks and chinchorros. 

This (SENA) being an institution that has as mission to invest in the social and technical development of Colombian workers, offering and executing comprehensive professional training for the incorporation and development of people in productive activities that contribute to the social, economic and technological development of the country; and to the ICBF I requested the support to be able to integrate the patients with tuberculosis to some of their nutritional support programs (infant, pregnant mothers, elderly, among others) with the objective of strengthening their nutrition, some of whom have some degree of malnutrition. Since this institution (ICBF) is the entity responsible for the nutrition policies in Colombia, it has an institutional strategy called "Ethnic Territories with Wellbeing" that seeks to support initiatives of indigenous communities that promote the well-being, coexistence and development of their families, through actions that strengthen and recover their cultural traditions and values and their food self-sufficiency. 

I believe that being able to ask for help in a cause you believe in, is a virtue and a necessity.

The Colombian Family Welfare Instituto (ICBF), is the entity of the Colombian state that works for the prevention and integral protection of early childhood, childhood, adolescence and the wellbeing of families in Colombia, providing special attention to those in conditions of threat, non-observance or violation of their rights.

That is why we insisted a lot for this small productive project to come true, but unfortunately it was not possible.

Pursuing the Dream

However, I always had the conviction that one day I could achieve it either by representing an Institution of the Government, or independently, that is why in January of 2017 when I decided to take the leap and start an online store, that I called Washein, little I knew about how to run a business or even how to sell a product, however, I learned a lot during the process.

I decided to take the leap and start Washein while still serving as a doctor.

I was working on Washein during the weekends and some nights during the week, choosing colors and designs, organizing logistics and packing orders. Little by little I began to spend more of my free time organising and finding a way to achieve it, but this time starting with artisans from the communities near the Serranía de la Macuira. I started Washein with the aim of supporting them in the commercialization of their handicraft products, I established a costing study with them so they were able to obtain a fair profit from them and in this way contributing to the improvement of their quality of life and health. 

This was the beginning of the "Einaá Eiyajaa Foundation" and "Washein". I decided to do this work with my family: my husband Jorge Luis López Ibarra, also an indigenous person, my brother Julio Belisario Henríquez Iguarán, my sister María Isabel Henríquez Iguarán and her eldest son Ahmed Charanek Henríquez, a young professional based in London, who are very enthusiastic, organized and maintaining a sense of social responsibility. With all this work so far, we have managed to improve the quality of life of large indigenous families in the Alta Guajira.  

Washein

The artisanal hats and basket bags that I sell are 100% handmade by Wayuu artisans that I have personally known since my childhood. On one of those trips to La Serranía de La Macuira, I observed them on the shore of the spring of water (which only exists in winter) called La Batea, admiring how through their skillful hands they manage to weave their dreams, materialized in a true piece of art, to which I invite you to give a better value. By creating awareness and social responsibility, we value their skills and honesty in each work done with much love, but also with much effort and dedication.  

I know that shopping handmade isn't always the cheapest, but you get to help and take with you a little piece of the artisan's heart.

Every single hat and bag is especial, made and painted by hand. The artisans are involved in all the process, from dying the straw filaments, to carefully weaving the hats and bags and finally trimming and cleaning them. The pompons that decorate them are weaved by a group of Wayúu women from a different community, that live in Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira. They create beautiful designs and colourful combinations that give the final touch to each piece.

Giving Back

At this moment we are extending the beneficiary families and organizing with them more ways in which to help. We strongly insist in teaching them the costing of their products, since it is common to see artisans commercialising them in a very poor way, exchanging their very valuable products for little money that is not even enough to cover their basic needs.

Educating artisans on the value of their craft is one of our aims. 

We are also working on the improvement of quality and technique of handicraft products, and to be able to market them through Washein, not only in Colombia, but also abroad. A percentage of the sales collected will go to the Foundation, and once we manage to gather sufficient resources we plan to take this model to the different Health Institutions of the Department of La Guajira, guaranteeing the acceptance of the Indigenous population to remain in the Health Institutions while feeling culturally and socially at home, as well as receiving a treatment not only shortened but supervised. 

In this way the cure of the disease would be achieved.

And of course one of the Health Institutions that will be a model is the ESE Hospital of Nazareth, where I am from, with the objective of strengthening the implementation and extension of the DOT/TAES Estrategy while implementing strategies to improve the supervision in the administration of treatments and adherence to the schemes based on support for patient, which is the priority of this project. The beneficiary would be the patients assisted in the Health Institutions in the Department of La Guajira. An important mission of this project is supporting the conditions for them to do the artisanal works as well as selling them while receiving the treatment, making them feel useful and productive. Likewise, we wish to carry out Indigenous Women's Empowerment workshops through artisanal work. 

Nazareth, La Guajira

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Our Story

Me

My name is Claudia Patricia Henríquez Iguarán from the Urariyú clan, born in Nazareth, La Alta Guajira, my parents are Julio Ignacio Henríquez Rosero, originally from Pasto, Nariño, and my mother Lucila Iguarán Villa, from the Urariyú clan, both very hard workers. My Father belonged to the Police (retired) and my mother was a great merchant who, from a very young age, dedicated herself to local commerce, after having completed her studies in the city of Barranquilla.

From them I learned the responsibility and dedication to everything that one undertakes in his/her life and that good values must be the basis of our lives. They also taught me something very important, the sense of social responsibility that we must have to face the needs that exist in La Guajira. We can not remain indifferent in the face of so many needs around us, especially what affects the smaller population, that is, girls and boys, indigenous women and the elderly. 

Instilling in me and my siblings to have my values as the basis of my life is my parent's greatest legacy.

I did my first studies at the "Nazareth Indigenous Boarding School", up to the fifth grade of primary school, because at that time, there was only the possibility of studying primary school. Nowadays, the indigenous people from Nazareth and other small towns (mainly from Puerto Estrella and Siapana) have the possibility of starting and finishing primary and secondary education. Later, my parents took me to the "Normal Antonia Santos", in the Department of Santander, with the aim of continuing my studies of secondary school, where I finished my studies and gained a conviction to continue training as a medical professional with the objective of working one day in the Indigenous communities of my Department (La Guajira).  

Young Doctor

Thank God that has been the case, where 95% of my experience has been working in and with the indigenous communities of my beloved Guajira. 

I'm glad to have worked for and with the Wayúu people for almost all my life.

My first years, as well as much of my experience has been working at the ESE Hospital de Nazareth, in the small town that bears the same name, where I learned a lot from Dr. Luis Ramiro Uribe, who worked as the Hospital Director for more than 30 years. Dr. Uribe left us a legacy that we can not lose, this being the interculturality in the health services, and even more so when this Hospital is the only health services provider in the Alta Guajira. The indigenous consider it as their second home, where they look for solutions not only to their health problems, but water, electric power, and connectivity when required, among others. 

On the 2nd of April 2012, I assumed a big challenge and it was to manage the Nazareth Hospital, preceeding Dr. Uribe.

Taking over a director of this hospital have been my greatest challenge and achievement.

So I decided to work in an organized way and along with the Indigenous Communities. I used to visit often the Communities, both closeby and far away in the desert with the aim of listening to them, not only about their problems but also about their proposals to possible solutions. This experience was very enriching, each day I learned more from them and got convinced that evidently, the indigenous population are very wise, they have an ancient and ancestral wisdom that enriches anyone who is ready to listen to them and put all that knowledge into practice. In my case, I applied it in the health sector with the aim of strengthening them and achieving greater demand in health services while respecting interculturality.  

Realising Difficulties

One of the many problems facing the Indigenous population of La Guajira is and continues to be Tuberculosis, thanks God is curable and it's treatment is free. However, with regards to indigenous population, a free treatment does not solve the whole problem. Our indigenous people live in rural and scattered areas with difficult access, and all the routes in the Alta Guajira are 'trails', commonly called roads, some stony and others full of sand, making their and our mobility and transfer of patients very difficult. Access gets even harder because we also do not have electricity that guarantees light 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and the saddest thing is that in the Alta Guajira, where Nazareth and and most of the Wayúu are located, we lack a reliable source of potable water.

Living in rural areas almost all my life taught me how basic needs make a huge difference.

This is the evil that is ending with the lives of our children, as well as with the animals and agriculture of the region. That is why our mission has been to strengthen the artisanal work as a means of subsistence for the indigenous of the Alta Guajira.

A story that is worth telling is how an Antioqueno (from Antioquia) Doctor (non-indigenous) managed to win the love and respect from all the inhabitants of the Region. Dr. Luis Ramiro Uribe, who with the support of Community Leaders like Mr. Gervasio Valdeblánquez, began the creation of the necessary hospital infrastructure to allow Indigenous patients with Tuberculosis to remain during the 6 months of supervised treatment within the Hospital, guaranteeing the treatment and cure of the disease. He called it DOT/TAES Estrategy (shortened treatment and strictely supervised). What made this even more remarkable is that this humanitarian work was respecting their lifestyle, their beliefs and customs, even during their disease, by allowing the accompaniment of their relatives and making them feel in their habitat, in their environment and with their families.

I've learned that taking the first step towards action is key - even if alone -, then like-minded people will join.

It is expensive and resource consuming to apply this model, however it is necessary if tuberculosis is to be eradicated among the Wayúu. Currently the only health institution that applies this strategy well in La Guajira is the Hospital of Nazareth. Since it is not easy to stay in a health institution for a long time, this initiative had a lot of acceptability from the indigenous population and has avoided the voluntary withdrawals of patients by their relatives, avoided relapses of the disease, and minimize the chain of transmission to the other members of the family and community.

First Trial

It is from them that while I was working as Director of the Hospital of Nazareth, I saw the need for Indigenous patients with Tuberculosis after having completed phase one of the treatment (when they already felt better, active and were better fed), to feel productive to support their children and continue to contribute to their families and that the disease was not a limitation to continue being heads of family. This is why at that time I formulated a small productive project called "Einaá Eiyajaa" which means "Weaving to Heal". 

I decided to start a foundation and join forces while serving as director of the Nazareth Hospital.

I submitted it in the National Guajira Regional Learning Service (SENA) and in the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), with the objective that the former Institution support us with the development of training programs to improve new artisan's weaving technique, design and costing of their products and at the same time provide us with the first supplies for the project, such as threads, needles, handicraft machines to make guaireñas (traditional Wayúu shoes), and looms to make hammocks and chinchorros. 

This (SENA) being an institution that has as mission to invest in the social and technical development of Colombian workers, offering and executing comprehensive professional training for the incorporation and development of people in productive activities that contribute to the social, economic and technological development of the country; and to the ICBF I requested the support to be able to integrate the patients with tuberculosis to some of their nutritional support programs (infant, pregnant mothers, elderly, among others) with the objective of strengthening their nutrition, some of whom have some degree of malnutrition. Since this institution (ICBF) is the entity responsible for the nutrition policies in Colombia, it has an institutional strategy called "Ethnic Territories with Wellbeing" that seeks to support initiatives of indigenous communities that promote the well-being, coexistence and development of their families, through actions that strengthen and recover their cultural traditions and values and their food self-sufficiency. 

I believe that being able to ask for help in a cause you believe in, is a virtue and a necessity.

The Colombian Family Welfare Instituto (ICBF), is the entity of the Colombian state that works for the prevention and integral protection of early childhood, childhood, adolescence and the wellbeing of families in Colombia, providing special attention to those in conditions of threat, non-observance or violation of their rights.

That is why we insisted a lot for this small productive project to come true, but unfortunately it was not possible.

Pursuing the Dream

However, I always had the conviction that one day I could achieve it either by representing an Institution of the Government, or independently, that is why in January of 2017 when I decided to take the leap and start an online store, that I called Washein, little I knew about how to run a business or even how to sell a product, however, I learned a lot during the process.

I decided to take the leap and start Washein while still serving as a doctor.

I was working on Washein during the weekends and some nights during the week, choosing colors and designs, organizing logistics and packing orders. Little by little I began to spend more of my free time organising and finding a way to achieve it, but this time starting with artisans from the communities near the Serranía de la Macuira. I started Washein with the aim of supporting them in the commercialization of their handicraft products, I established a costing study with them so they were able to obtain a fair profit from them and in this way contributing to the improvement of their quality of life and health. 

This was the beginning of the "Einaá Eiyajaa Foundation" and "Washein". I decided to do this work with my family: my husband Jorge Luis López Ibarra, also an indigenous person, my brother Julio Belisario Henríquez Iguarán, my sister María Isabel Henríquez Iguarán and her eldest son Ahmed Charanek Henríquez, a young professional based in London, who are very enthusiastic, organized and maintaining a sense of social responsibility. With all this work so far, we have managed to improve the quality of life of large indigenous families in the Alta Guajira.  

Washein

The artisanal hats and basket bags that I sell are 100% handmade by Wayuu artisans that I have personally known since my childhood. On one of those trips to La Serranía de La Macuira, I observed them on the shore of the spring of water (which only exists in winter) called La Batea, admiring how through their skillful hands they manage to weave their dreams, materialized in a true piece of art, to which I invite you to give a better value. By creating awareness and social responsibility, we value their skills and honesty in each work done with much love, but also with much effort and dedication.  

I know that shopping handmade isn't always the cheapest, but you get to help and take with you a little piece of the artisan's heart.

Every single hat and bag is especial, made and painted by hand. The artisans are involved in all the process, from dying the straw filaments, to carefully weaving the hats and bags and finally trimming and cleaning them. The pompons that decorate them are weaved by a group of Wayúu women from a different community, that live in Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira. They create beautiful designs and colourful combinations that give the final touch to each piece.

Giving Back

At this moment we are extending the beneficiary families and organizing with them more ways in which to help. We strongly insist in teaching them the costing of their products, since it is common to see artisans commercialising them in a very poor way, exchanging their very valuable products for little money that is not even enough to cover their basic needs.

Educating artisans on the value of their craft is one of our aims. 

We are also working on the improvement of quality and technique of handicraft products, and to be able to market them through Washein, not only in Colombia, but also abroad. A percentage of the sales collected will go to the Foundation, and once we manage to gather sufficient resources we plan to take this model to the different Health Institutions of the Department of La Guajira, guaranteeing the acceptance of the Indigenous population to remain in the Health Institutions while feeling culturally and socially at home, as well as receiving a treatment not only shortened but supervised. 

In this way the cure of the disease would be achieved.

And of course one of the Health Institutions that will be a model is the ESE Hospital of Nazareth, where I am from, with the objective of strengthening the implementation and extension of the DOT/TAES Estrategy while implementing strategies to improve the supervision in the administration of treatments and adherence to the schemes based on support for patient, which is the priority of this project. The beneficiary would be the patients assisted in the Health Institutions in the Department of La Guajira. An important mission of this project is supporting the conditions for them to do the artisanal works as well as selling them while receiving the treatment, making them feel useful and productive. Likewise, we wish to carry out Indigenous Women's Empowerment workshops through artisanal work. 

Nazareth, La Guajira

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