Meet Sandra Cruz, our Local Production Manager of Chula Products
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we talk to Sandra Cruz, our Local Production Manager who works alongside our makers Angela and Mildred, to create our beautiful range of Chula Bags and Chula Clothes.
Before becoming our Local Production Manager the only paid work Sandra had was selling a traditional dried fish for Easter earning just Q800 for 3 months work. Now we have been working with her for over 2 years, with 2 other women, Mildred and Angelina, to complete our team of local seamstress that make our Chula Products.
“I loved to study but I didn’t have the opportunity. I only studied until 3rd grade since my parents couldn’t pay. But when I got married I continued studying completing primary and high school through an adult learning programme at the school. If my parents had had the cash I would have loved to have studied a degree to be able to have a profession and make my own money. For a woman here now, the work is in hotels, cooking, cleaning. If I wasn’t making bags with La Choza Chula maybe I’d be selling food on the street.
A few years ago Intercap gave a short course of how to sew for women here in the village – that’s how us three started to sew but not like this; now I’ve learnt lots more. We’ve really improved over time, I feel proud of us! We were already friends, but now we know each other so much better. I feel happy to work with them and know we have an even stronger friendship.
Sewing for La Choza Chula allows me to be at home and care for kids. I don’t have to travel far so, I can know if my kids are eating or doing their homework. That they are sleeping, washing, keeping well at home rather than being closed up in a hotel or another workplace all day long.
With the money I make it helps me pay for the upkeep of the house (including a new roof this year), food and clothes for my kids and educational supplies. If this work didn’t exist I would be asking to pay for things in instalments which is more complicated and expensive.
One time I took a shoulder bag to show someone at the church and the Pastor was surprised and said “Oh did you make it? Wow it’s beautiful and really well made!”. Sometimes people are shocked that we make them – they think we bought them in a shop! Hahaha!
In the village people speak so highly of La Choza Chula for all that they bring. Other villages just don’t have this kind of opportunity.”