Posted on 16 Comments

Stories from Creaciones Miquelina

Our long-term ethical manufacturing partnership with Creaciones Miquelina in Bogotá, Colombia, has provided training and employment for vulnerable women at risk of prostitution and drugs since 1992. We are extremely proud that all garments manufactured at Miquelina (85% of our annual production, including all our Nikwax Analogy waterproof garments) carry the World Fair Trade Organization Fair Trade label.

Here, we share the stories of Magda and Viviana, two women whose lives have changed thanks to Creaciones Miquelina, its partnership with Páramo, and our new Employee-Owned Trust.

“I joined Miquelina 23 years ago during a very difficult period of my life, and I was also pregnant. The nuns gave me the opportunity to learn how to use a sewing machine and I became part of a real family (my husband never helped me). It is the best thing that could have happened to me. I had more children and was able to continue working in a stable job; Miquelina was a great support and I could move my family forward. I was also able to study and finish high school.

When we were informed of the move to an Employee-Owned Trust, we had great expectations – especially financially – and hoped we would be able to improve our quality of life further. For many years I have only been able to afford the basics; I hope (and not only me but also my colleagues) to be able to improve my earnings and to continue feeling motivated to work. I am encouraged by the fact that we can really be involved in the company and help to make decisions. We are committed women with a fighting spirit who have overcome the adversities in our lives; I am confident that everything that has happened within the company is for the common good.”
Magda Lasso, Labour Operator

“My name is Viviana Montenegro and I have been working at Creaciones Miquelina for 9 years now. I arrived by chance – I saw a sign, I entered the building and took advice from the nuns there. I made the decision to train in something for my princesses (I have two young daughters). Before, I had to leave my girls at home on their own whilst I was out on the streets.

I shared my story in the training center and started hearing stories from other women that were worse than my own. The nuns helped us all by introducing us to psychologists and social workers – we were like a family, everyone cared about one another. Getting up early was hard and, at first, it was all very difficult for me; I didn’t know anything about anything as I hadn’t even finished primary school. But that is how I started at Miquelina!

I always dreamed about having a house of my own and I would laugh just thinking about it since it felt unreachable. However, I began to save and after three attempts I finally managed to buy my “casita”. It is in a distant but good area.

Arriving at Miquelina has changed my life and I can now talk to my daughters with pride and without rudeness, because I was always tired before from being on the streets at night. I am proud to be a dignified woman with a decent job and for my girls to see me at home as their mother, whereas before they rarely saw me.

The past 9 years have made me a better person whereas before, I felt like a woman from the streets without meaning. I have now studied and graduated from high school and have also been able to bring my sisters to Miquelina. They too worked on the streets, and it was very satisfying to be able to help them, even though we still have sisterly problems! I am very happy to see them working here.

The move to an Employee-Owned Trust has been very big with many expectations – to improve my family’s way of life and to finish paying off my house and my debts. I am also in a better position to help pay for my daughters to study and go to university. Above all, now that Miquelina is part of a trust, many women who really need help will receive it.”
Viviana Montenegro, Flat Machine Operator

16 thoughts on “Stories from Creaciones Miquelina

  1. This is so moving! In a world of darkness, we need uplifting stories like these very badly. Vamos con Diez, Senoras!

  2. Very moving and heartwarming stories from both Magda and Vivian, thankyou.
    Wishing everyone a happy,healthy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

  3. Well done you two ladies your children must be so proud of you . Avery happy Christmas and new year to you.

  4. These life stories of the ladies who help produce paramo garments is an excellent way to remind paramo customers of the ethical side to the manufacturing of such excellent garments and by supporting such a brand how important it is to also supporting the ladies and the vision both Paramo and the nuns had for this venture.

  5. I congratulate the Miquelina Foundation for their continuing efforts to improve the lives of women, who have in the past suffered abuse. Feliz Navidad.

  6. I was very moved reading the ladies stories. I try and purchase paramo clothing when I can and nikwax products to further help your work. Thank you and have a great Christmas this year.

  7. This is such a heartwarming story in such troubled times. Well done Nick for having the vision for Paramo/Nickwax which has offered real change and hope to some of the most deprived women in the world.

  8. Dear ladies,

    Here in the UK we have an enormous choice of coats and jackets to protect us from the rain as it is a country with lots of it !
    But I chose Páramo because of what it has achieved to do for women and I find the whole story absolutely wonderful given we are living in a world of greed , speed and selfishness.
    I’m very happy to learn about the new development of your entreprise. I wish you luck but you have the most important: determination and patience!
    Wishing you a happy Christmas 2023 and all the best for the New Year.

  9. Thank you for sharing your stories, this is exactly why I buy Paramo and that makes me part of your story.

    Blessings this Christmas. R

  10. Ethical manufacturing is more than just financial reward, these stories are about dignity and valuing one another.

  11. Myself and my daughter have worn paramo clothing for for about 25 years both in hot and cold climates. We would never change to another brand due to its excellent qualities so many thanks for all you hard work all those thousands of miles away in Columbia. May good fortune be with you and thank you

  12. It is very uplifting to hear the women’s stories. Keep up the good work.

  13. may God bless you all and thank you for making my Paramo Velaz jacket.

  14. Brillant – What amazing things that the Paramo company has endorsed and allowed to happen – helping those who most need it and offering a helping and charitable hand to those who would normally be ignored by society at large.. Good for you Paramo for making a difference and good on your people who have helped/allowed this miracle/and make it happen. Very inspirational indeed.. more power to you at Paramo and those who need your helping hand. Bless you. Peter

  15. What a heart warming story of triumph over great difficulties from Viviana.
    It’s so nice to know that when I buy an item of Paramo clothing I am in a small way helping to support the Miquelina Foundation and all the outstanding work the nuns do there.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  16. Great to read these inspiring stories. The ethical foundation Paramo has is a major reason I buy their products, with which I am extremely happy!

Leave a Reply