After a day of documenting the Baling Soela project, I got a chance to take a dive in the Suriname river. In chilling contrast to the overall temperature the dark brown water was cold but once my body got used to the temperature it felt great to just relax in the river. The strong stream is like a natural massage.
Even though I am quite a good swimmer, I stayed on the side as the current was dangerously strong. The locals also warned not to go too far. With the rainbow on the horizon it was a perfect end of a beautiful fruitful day.
Suriname river, Baling Soela
A two-hour drive from Paramaribo city, the capital of Suriname will get you to Baling Soela, a maroon villiage in the district of Brokopondo home to about 500 Saramacca families.
This is one of the rural places where Talking Prints is helping local families to increase earnings from their traditional crafting skills. Facilitating local artisans with sewing machines, thread, fabric and more, Talking Prints, laid the foundation for quite q few women to start their own businesses.
A 360 view of the riverside of Baling Soela with Pekula Starke and Zoe Mezas from Talking Prints
Not only does Talking Prints facilitate participating women with the essentials to improve their craft, they also teach them how to sew and stitch beyond their traditional art which allows the artisans the opportunity to sell their work immediately to the social company. This guaranteed sales formula makes it relatively easy to increase their earnings.
Since 2017 Talking Prints has worked with eight Baling Soela women to incorporate their traditional maroon embroidery techniques in fanny packs as well as to sew Pangi-Monos.
Designed by award-winning Fashion Designer Meredith Joeroeja, a Pangi-Mono is a perfect fusion between a traditional Japanese kimono and an authentic Maroon pangi, flavored with urban streetwear swag.
Meredith Joeroeja, shows off her design, the Pangi-Mono. Click to order the Pangi-Mono.
The women behind Talking Prints
Pekula Starke and Zoe Mezas the founders of Talking Prints
Zoe Mezas and Pekula Starke are the two courageous inspiring women behind this brand. Born and raised in the Netherlands with flourishing careers both quit their jobs, came to Suriname and used their savings to put their social vision in the company they named Talking Prints.
The social entrepreneurs’ mission was and still is to create sustainable jobs for indigenous people in the interior of Suriname, in synergy with the community’s cultural and authentic lifestyle.
A stroll around Baling Soela
Since 2015 Talking Prints started projects in three different communities living in rural areas of Suriname with less job and education opportunities.
With Talking Prints Zoe and Pekula created employment opportunities for about 20 indigenous and maroon families who are now making trendy items for the brand, incorporating their traditional craftsmanship in the designs. These are sustainable jobs to earn a fair income and gain a more financially independent life.
Items of Talking Prints
From headwraps and scrunchies to fanny packs and Pangi-Monos, Talking Prints offers items that speak.
As simple as the headwraps and scrunchies are they let the prints to the talking. Not just with the colors but also with high quality fabric.
Click to Buy Scrunchies
The traditional Surinamese craftmanship comes to live in fashionable fanny packs and the Pangi-Monos.
The fanny packs are still in the works but you can get the one of a kind Pangi-Mono at an introduction price for you and your loved one.