Pulsera Project provides opportunity for solidarity

PulseraBy Alex Holmes | gargoyle@flagler.edu

The Pulsera Project is aiming to unite Nicaraguan youth to college students across the country. The non-profit organization promotes unity through manufacturing and selling colorful “pulsera” bracelets.

Nicaraguan craftsmen and artists weave the colorful bracelets and send them to the U.S. to be sold. All proceeds go back to the youth of Nicaragua, giving the people who make the bracelets opportunities to grow and learn.

Dana Bertolino, who brought the Pulsera Project to Flagler as president of the Human Rights Advocates club, said the project represents more than a good cause.

“The Pulsera Project is incredibly easy to read. They were so straight forward about where their money goes and who they’re helping. We’ve done well with sales ever since,” Bertolino said.

The organization started when a crew visited Nicaragua in 2008, which is the poorest country in Central America. The crew encountered a shelter that helped the children of impoverished families get off of the streets. The children at the shelter made pulseras and gave them as gifts, which inspired the beginning of the Pulsera Project.

The Pulsera Project has a philosophy of empowerment.  More than simply building a structure for a town and then leaving, the Pulsera Project has created a lasting bond with the people of Nicaragua that works to teach, empower and enlighten the youth of the country, which in turn helps them lead a better life.

James Raskin, a recent graduate, said getting involved with the Pulsera Project was a rewarding experience.

“They wanted something that would stimulate the economy and last after they’re gone,” Raskin said. “It’s giving them more of a chance at surviving instead of just having a building that they can visit once a day. There’s not profit coming from that.”

The project recently hit $1 million dollars in sales. The donations the volunteers raise go back to youth shelter organizations and Nicaraguan communities. Unlike other non-profit organizations that exist today, the Pulsera Project never exceeds a certain amount that they give to their top paying positions.

It is more than just a job for the Nicaraguans. They enjoy the work they do and are paid fairly. Loans are given in small enough amounts to where they can be paid back without worry. It also saves them from having to work in factory jobs with long hours and little pay. The project has given locals the opportunity to lead successful lives and, at the same time, form relationships that last a lifetime.

The bracelets come in all types of different colors and designs, costing only $5, with each unique in its own way. Each bracelet also comes with a tag that has the name and a picture of the Nicaraguan who made it.

For more information or to get involved, contact the Human Rights Advocates club.

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