POMEROY — In 2009, a group of American students on a trip to Nicaragua met artists living at the foothills of the country who were gifted at weaving pulseras, which is Spanish for bracelet. However these artists had no market in which to sell their products. So when they left a few of these American students brought the bracelets with them to sell.
And seven years and nearly 2.5 million bracelets later the Pulsera Project has made it to Meigs Local High School.
Richelle Hecker, Meigs High School Spanish teacher, said she heard about the project from a friend a few years ago, and decided to contact the company about selling the bracelets in her classroom.
The bracelets have only been on sale since Monday, Jan. 25, and as of Thursday afternoon about $650 worth of bracelets had been sold. The bracelets will continue to be sold at Meigs Local until Feb. 21. She said she thought the timing was perfect, as some of her students are studying celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries. In these countries Valentines Day is seen as more of a day to celebrate both romantic love and friendship, and that the purchase of friendship bracelets around this time worked perfectly. Each bracelet also comes with a tag showing the portrait and signature of the person who created the item.
Each bracelet is $6, with $5 going straight towards helping Nicaraguans, and $1 of the profit going towards the Spanish fund so that students can take a trip to the Mexican market in Columbus as part of a learning experience.
Nicaragua is currently the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and Hecker said she’s seen firsthand how much American money can last a person in Middle America.
“I used to live in Mexico, and with $50 I could live like a king for a whole month,” she said. “(My students) are really starting to realize how much this project is going to impact this third-world country. And it’s great because so many schools have done it.”
Hecker said that so far about 566 schools in the United States have participated with the project, and she’s proud that Meigs High School is one of those. In particular, she said she’s proud of how well he students have taken up the cause at hand.
“It’s resonated with the students a lot more than I thought it would,” she said.
She also commended the enormous talent of those who weave the bracelets.
“They are very intricate,” she said. “(People) see them and they look very easy to make, but the strings are long and have intricate details. However, once they get good enough, (the employees) can weave while talking to you.”
Along with selling the bracelets in the classroom, Hecker said she’s entrusted certain students to sell bracelets outside of class, and even invites individuals to check in with the school during the day for bracelet purchasing, or talk to a high school student about the purchase of one. Bracelets can be purchased by cash or a check made out to Meigs Local High School.
For more information visit pulseraproject.org.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.