Manos del Uruguay is a non-profit social organization which, since 1968, has provided jobs for craftswomen living in Uruguay rural areas.
In Manos, garments are designed and knitted -mainly with wool yarns- for the local market and for renowned international brand-name clothes.
Manos del Uruguay defends and promotes Uruguayan identity, being part of the weave that constitutes the essence of our country, where culture and tradition are mixed in an exchange that is reflected in each one of our knitted products.
During 2009, and after a long and exhaustive evaluation process, Manos del Uruguay was accepted as a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, WFTO, which operates in 70 countries and brings together more than 350 organizations, 100% committed to Fair Trade.
This achievement acknowledges Manos del Uruguay mission of eradicating poverty through sustainable economic growth, enabling craftspeople to improve the quality of their craft products, so that, in this way, they can continue their personal development.
We, the craftswomen, are the owners of Manos del Uruguay, and we are part of a non-profit Association, the objective of which is to generate work for rural women, allowing us to stay in our towns, earn our living and develop ourselves as human beings.
Manos del Uruguay is an organization made up of Cooperatives of craft manufacturing and a Service Center, and its the main objectives are:
Manos del Uruguay is run by a Managing Committee made up of representatives of the Cooperatives.
The members of the Managing Committee change every two years, and as of 1988, the Cooperative Representatives have represented the majority of the Managing Committee.
We are grouped in 13 cooperatives that bring together 250 craftswomen distributed in 19 localities in the interior of the country. Cooperatives have their central offices in cities and towns of the Interior of the country, and, in addition, there are groups of craftswomen operating in different localities, more or less far away. Meanwhile the Service Center is located in Montevideo, and 90 employees approximately work there, to provide the Cooperatives with different services such as products design, supply of materials and raw materials, technical training, manufacturing and tool maintenance, sale of production, financing, advising and training for the cooperatives directors, and, among others, advising for those who perform administrative functions.
Manos del Uruguay is already more than 40 years old, and many of those pioneer craftswomen who started the hard work of its creation, believing in something that was, at that time, more of an illusion than of a reality, have already retired.
A few years ago nobody could have ever imagined what that initial idea, arisen from the need to palliate the difficult situation of countryside women, would finally become. Manos del Uruguay is a collective construction, to which the founders, the artisans, the adhering members, the employees of the Service Center, and many volunteers have contributed their creativity, work and enthusiasm throughout these years.