Cuipo, a social enterprise out of Newport Beach, California, has made it its mission to preserve the world’s rainforests.
And, make no mistake, tropical woods need our help—every second an area equivalent to one football field is deforested, which is tantamount to a catastrophe given that the rainforest is home to 50 percent of the Earth’s plants and animals.
However, we here at Cuipo don't just save trees—the company also protects the people who live in and around these rainforests. Recently, we partnered with the Kuna, an indigenous group of Panama, through Project Argan Nuedi—or “Project Good Hands”—to revive the Kuna’s culture and economy.
The idea for the project arose when members of our team visited Panama and spoke with the Ubkisukun families of the Kuna. We quickly learned of the Kuna’s artistic abilities and designed a way in which the two groups might mutually help one another.
What we came up was this: Cuipo asked the Kuna to create an assortment of handmade goods using artful techniques specific to ancient Kuna culture. We now sell these handmade, beaded Kuna bracelets on our website, and the people who purchase these items help bring revenue to the Kuna and assist in preserving their culture. Female artisans of the Ubkisukun families have created beaded "Stop the Chop" bracelets.
"Working with Cuipo to make bracelets allows me to put into practice the forgotten techniques of my culture," says Kuna Rebelino Arcia. "I feel very proud to belong to the Kuna, and I am glad that people recognize our art."
Unlike most indigenous groups worldwide, the Kuna maintain control over their territory, a region that includes hundreds of islands with white sand beaches and vast expanses of tropical rainforests. The Kuna’s respect for nature has led them to effectively preserve one of the largest expanses of rainforest in Central America.
Give a gift that gives back this holiday season and support Cuipo’s efforts to preserve prime rainforest! Check out the Kuna’s bracelet designs and other merchandise over at Cuipo.