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Hilo Sagrado

La Guajira, Colombia

South America Accelerator Programme
in partnership with NESsT


Hilo Sagrado preserves the knowledge, culture, and traditions of Indigenous communities in La Guajira, Colombia

The northern province of La Guajira is the poorest region in Colombia, where over 60% of the population lives in poverty. Indigenous communities, notably the Wayúu group, are disproportionately affected. Many face limited access to basic needs, including food, healthcare, and education.

Indigenous women are crucial in preserving the Wayúu culture and protecting Indigenous territories that safeguard over 80% of the country’s biodiversity and natural forests. After agriculture, making and selling crafts is the most significant economic activity in the Wayúu community and the primary means of livelihood for many Indigenous women. Their craft is not just a means of livelihood but a profound connection to the earth and their cosmology.

Fundación Hilo Sagrado is a non-profit enterprise that preserves the knowledge, culture, and traditions of Indigenous communities in La Guajira, Colombia. It works to improve the livelihoods of 183 artisans, 150 of whom are women, increasing their income and improving their living and working conditions.

By positioning their quality handcrafted products as conscious Indigenous art, Hilo Sagrado has secured partnerships with high-end international companies and increased local producers’ net income by up to six times what they previously earned. The profits are directed to various community development projects within the Wayúu communities, including the provision of water purification, sustainable energy, dignified menstruation products, education for children, and bioconstruction. 

Additionally, Hilo Sagrado partners with community leaders to offer workshops and training to support the empowerment of rural communities, especially women. Through workshops on pricing strategies and financial management, local artisans are equipped with the knowledge to secure fair compensation for their work. Other training topics include fashion trends, branding, and heritage preservation.

As a NESsT portfolio enterprise, Hilo Sagrado has the necessary resources to launch projects and activities and support the empowerment of Indigenous communities, giving them the autonomy to direct their path toward economic and social development. This is our aim: to contribute to gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth.

- Hilo Sagrado leadership.
Programme support

Over the next three years, Hilo Sagrado plans to extend its impact to Santa Marta and the Amazon to improve the livelihoods of over 500 Indigenous people across ten communities. The programme will support the Hilo Sagrado team further in increasing the economic stability of Indigenous communities in Colombia while advancing the conservation of their heritage. 

Through one-on-one mentoring and business assistance, NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship will support Hilo Sagrado in establishing a new social enterprise model. The focus will be on transitioning into two separate brands and enhancing key areas such as strategic planning, investment readiness, and branding.