In 2015 Talking Prints started their first project that helped 6 Maroon women in the rural area of Brokopondo, Suriname. The Maroons of Suriname are descendants of Africans who were brought here through the slave trade. They liberated themselves from slavery and settled in the jungle. They built a new life along the rivers and maintained their African culture, lifestyle and use the Saramaccan language, which originated from African and mainly Portugese background. They are the Saramaccan people, named after the route they followed when escaping slavery from plantations.
The creators of Talking Prints were very inspired by their dedication to fight for their freedom by starting their own community and keeping their culture intact.
The Maroon community had a closed culture where they rarely allow people from outside. That is why we feel even more honored to work with them and we respect their culture. They welcomed us into their life and they were open to our efforts to help them obtain a fair income.
In Suriname people are very creative with textile. It is very common to design and make their own clothes. The women from Brokopondo were also very textile oriented and already had sewing machines. That is why we developed an easy tote bag with colorful fabrics that lies close to their creativity and sewing skills. The moment that the tote bag was successful, we began to design more items such as headwraps, wallets and other different bags.
Today we see that the women are taking big steps and learning so rapidly.They are now at a stage where they have finished the program, are ready to work independently and are more skilled at saving money for a better future. Some of the women are ready for the next step and are thinking of starting their own small businesses. Talking Prints supports these ambitions and wants to be a coach to help make their dreams come true.
U ké stands for “we are willing” in Saramaccan language and represents the positive power of the women.