Wayúu Tayá Foundation – Bags That Look Good & Do Good

Cause-related shopping can ease some of that guilt we feel when buying something we don’t really need. Perhaps that’s why the popularity of this kind of retail/charity model has increased so much in the past few years. As long as it’s not an excuse to buy something unnecessary, I think it makes perfect sense. Searching for the perfect colorful boho bag for spring, I came across the Wayúu Tayá Foundation, and its gorgeous selection of bags.

The foundation was started in 2002 by Wayúu model and actress Patricia Velásquez, the first Latina Supermodel to appear on the covers of fashion glossies like Vogue and Marie Claire and walk the runways for fashion houses like Chanel, Gucci, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Carolina Herrera.

The Wayúu Tayá Foundation was started by model and actress Patricia Velásquez, herself a Wayúu.

The Wayúu Tayá Foundation was started by model and actress Patricia Velásquez, herself a Wayúu.

The Wayúu Tayá Foundation’s mission is “to help improve the lives of Latin-American indigenous communities while maintaining and respecting their traditions, culture and beliefs.” They work in communities where urgent problems include extreme poverty, high child malnutrition and mortality rates, gastrointestinal disease due to lack of clean drinking water, and deficiencies in education that prevent integral child development.

The focus is on improving the quality of life of indigenous communities, while still respecting their autonomy and cultural heritage. The bags are hand-made by Wayuú indigenous women at Shukumajaya, a center where the foundation educates women on parenting and nutrition, family planning and hygiene.

Goodlifer: Wayuu Taya FoundationGoodlifer: Wayuu Taya Foundation

Proceeds from the sale of all the items in Wayúu Tayá’s online shop go to benefiting the Wayuú indigenous people, and this work enables indigenous women to generate income while maintaining their traditions. The gorgeous bags, available in all colors of the rainbow, are one-of-kind (unless noted in the description). It’ll brighten up any outfit, and you’ll have a great story to tell people who compliment it—and they will.

Katy Perry is a fan of Wayúu Tayá bags.

Katy Perry is a fan of Wayúu Tayá bags.

Since its creation, Wayúu Tayá has concentrated its efforts in assisting the Wayúu, an indigenous group of over 450,000 people, located in the Guajira Peninsula of northern Colombia and northwest Venezuela. Wayúu’s, commonly referred to as Guajiros, are an Amerindian ethic group that have been able to avoid European acculturation over the centuries. The Guajira region is characterized by being very dry and arid, as well as extremely poor in most rural areas.

Goodlifer: Wayuu Taya FoundationGoodlifer: Wayuu Taya Foundation

After the earthquake in Port Au Prince, Wayúu Tayá has expanded its work to Haiti with the creation of the Help Haiti Hope initiative. They are also urrently expanding into the Amazon, where it will support healthcare and education initiatives, benefiting major indigenous groups such as the Jivi, Yanomami and Piaroa.

Get your own gorgeous bag here, prices range from $140 to $180. A select few are also available on Shopbop.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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