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Training tailoring, a life-changer for women from Iviyeca

In addition to helping train a group of entrepreneurs, TotalEnergies in Bolivia is also one of their clients.    

During the period of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group from the Iviyeca community was trained in making cloth masks with the support of TotalEnergies. The initiative planted the seed that a year later resulted in the Iviyeca Clothing Manufacturers’ Association being formed. In 2021, the Association made school backpacks for the subsidiary, which were distributed to educational units in the Ipati and Azero blocks.

In 2022, the Association was also tasked with designing and producing 350 backpacks to deliver, along with school supplies, to schools in Caraparicito, Iviyeca, Tasete and Yapumbia, communities located in the Ipati block, operated by TotalEnergies. This group of entrepreneurs has shared that being part of this association has changed their lives and motivates them to continue learning in order to support themselves and their families.

Currently, they have diversified their production and added canvas bags with Guarani details, pencil holders, ponchillos, cotton shirts and sportswear to their offerings.

Feliza Jarillo and Demetrio Yaparico, the only man in the Association, had the initiative to form the group. Regarding this, she recalls, “We learned first, and we thought that it would be useless for us to learn to do something and remain there, especially if it is something useful. We had to move forward, so we have and here we are.”

For her part, Cristina Aramayo, current president of the Association, explains that financial needs led the rest of the group to join and form the Association, which currently has six members. "Especially for me, it was because of the economic needs I was going through and to support my family and get ahead.”

When an order arrives, the group organizes itself by preparing the budget based on the number of garments requested. They estimate the amount of fabric to be used and the design of the order to make the necessary purchases. Once supplies arrive, the whole group is tasked with cutting the material. Then the sewing tasks are shared.

Demetrio Yaparico highlights how much he values the mutual support of the group. “For example, if we know that someone is running late, we help them deliver everything on time and meet the customer.”"None of them had experience in cutting and sewing, everything has been a learning process from the beginning," he continues.

TotalEnergies has supported them so far with six training modules. The modules included training in industrial machinery handling and maintenance, preparation of patterns for garments, making shirts, vests, sportswear, work clothes and clothing for medical personnel, and serigraphy.

The Association currently has several clients. They have made sports uniforms for the Fe y Alegría Radio Institute Bolivia - IRFA; backpacks and bags for TotalEnergies, in addition to other orders for World Vision and SEPCOM.

The members affirm that the Association has changed their lives. “Before, I only dedicated myself to the house, to washing clothes or waiting for my husband. Now, by doing a small task I already have enough for the day. For example, I can make a case that can cost 10 or 20 bolivianos, it changes my situation and I feel happy because I can buy things that I didn't think I could afford. With this training I learned to do things and my life has changed. Now when someone tells us to do something, we already know how to do it and we can earn enough for the day” says Feliza Jarillo.

Agustina Velásquez adds, “Before, I worked making baked goods. But in the association I am better off. I have my children who now want to learn about sewing.”

For 2023, the Iviyeca Confectioners Association aims to have the machines they need - an Over, a straight stitch sewing machine and a steam iron - to fulfill their orders and attract more customers. And surely to continue receiving more members.

“There are no requirements to be part of the association, only that the person who wants to join have the will to do things and learn. We are open to anyone who wants to join us,” indicates Demetrio Yaparico.