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From the field-Paraguay

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Artistry on Display 

Herminia Rivero
 Many artisans have spent years perfecting their skills. Herminia Rivero began weaving karanday, a native palm fiber into a variety of baskets, mats and hats.
The up-scale Sheraton-Asunción is offering indigenous Paraguayan crafters affiliated with IAF grantee Estación A-Núcleo Cultural, a prime venue to both exhibit and sell their work. Based in Areguá, 18 miles from Asunción, Estación A, an IAF grantee since 2010, works to encourage entrepreneurship and develop new markets. Beautiful handicrafts fashioned by the grantee’s member artisans, including delicate ñanduti lace and filigree jewelry to an entire catalogue of pottery, fill display cases in the Sheraton’s lobby.

Sheraton staff manage sales, inventory and disburse monthly payments to Estación A. “All that is required of us is high quality and arranging what is on display. The products should have the fair-trade label, a card describing the product and handicraft, and detailed brochures on the techniques used and the artisan associations,” said Gabriela Frers, Executive Director Estación A.

The contract with the Sheraton is a major opportunity for Estación A that Gabriela believes will lead to other accomplishments. Paraguay’s Secretariat of Culture and the Professional Development Services are partners in the development initiatives and  provide training workshops for young artisans.− Aja Finger, IAF Intern.