La Caravana Escuela (LCE)


La Caravana Escuela (LCE) trains the people of rural communities in the mountainous Venezuelan Paramo in blacksmithing skills, empowering them to forge the tools they need for work on their own farms as well as make additional tools that are sold through established retail outlets to farmers in other villages. This double positive generates cash to meet daily living expenses, help with emergency needs and pursue opportunities. Along the way, the skills learned are prompting a burgeoning of creativity in the high mountain communities, enriching the lives of those who live there.

With a substantial presence in seven rural communities over the past four years, La Caravana Escuela has taught more than 560 farmers to forge their own agricultural implements, thus far manufacturing a total of 15,189 agrarian tools. In addition to providing the training to the farmers, LCE has equipped these villages with forges, blacksmithing tools, safety equipment and coal.
It has also shown the farmers how to “harvest” scrap metal from their

areas, clearing the land of environmentally damaging and dangerous material and serving as a source of raw material to convert into useful tools.To date, more than 18.9 tons of iron and steel has been recovered from these rural areas of the Andes.

This work embraces the goals of inclusion and self-sufficiency 24.5 % of the villagers trained are women, girls and young people. Apart from teaching immediately useful skills, LCE is also providing a path to far greater community self-sufficiency – providing tools that are necessary for a farming life but that were otherwise unavailable or unaffordable and creating income-generating opportunities for people facing severe challenges. Among other results, this gives young people reasons to remain in the country and not migrate abroad. These goals are accomplished by joining the lineage and wisdom of blacksmiths through centuries of human history.

Lessons learned and continuous improvement

LCE began by training villagers to make horse shoes, sickles, hoes and other items that were no longer accessible or economical for purchase but were indispensable to continuing the farming life of these communities. This goal has now been met. Crops can be planted and harvested. Horses are no longer hobbled and can again carry crops from the fields to town. Replacement and repair of tools will be a continuing need but the smithing capacity of these villages now greatly exceeds their own needs. This vital initial phase of the work did not create any cash income for the farmers, beyond the traditional sale of surplus crops when possible. And the tools created were not of sufficient consistency or quantity to be sold commercially. 


To address both of these challenges, LCE has now arranged with established hardware stores to buy for resale a widely used form of hoe that can be qualitatively manufactured in quantity by the LCE villages. LCE has created specialized blacksmithing tools that assure product consistency and arranged to provide raw material and coal, the cost of which is more than offset by the price the hardware stores pay for the hoes. The resulting profit is shared with the villagers who fabricate the hoes, giving them cash income, with a small amount reserved to cover LCE costs. LCE certifies the products and sells them to hardware stores with a unique stamped designation of origin, much like wine or cheese is designated. 

The demands of serving a commercial market and enjoying earned, cash revenue has required La Caravana Escuela to redesign its processes and method of teaching. We have incorporated a new Learning Template into every tool-making process. Each tool template is designed and sized in order to optimize all the production processes and achieve consistent manufacturing standards. The result is better and more marketable tools. Assuming this approach proves as effective as we expect, additional standardized tools may be added.

Our north star

Expand our efforts

To serve more villages and additional residents in the communities we already serve.

Train villagers

In blacksmithing skills, now including the standardization techniques through a Learning Template.

Expand smithies capacity

To produce the diversity of tools needed locally but also a larger number of selected tools with commercial sale potential.


A new market from the countryside to the city that benefits merchants in the sector, steel recyclers and farmers.


Sufficient financial support to materialize and strengthen the investments needed in LCE programs.


Both in the educational model and in the different iron transformation processes that our programs involve.

We recapture the CO2 released by each ton of carbon used to forge.

To offset our CO2 footprint from the use of coal, since 2022 we have started planting native trees in every community we visit, helping to repopulate endemic forests in deforested areas. We now know how many trees are needed to recapture the CO2 released by each ton of carbon used to forge and we will plant twice as many trees as necessary. This helps us to maintain a position of environmental awareness and responsibility within our educational-productive model.

Being, doing, transforming and organizing are combined in this educational model that encompasses a self-sustaining circular proposal, ranging from the teaching of a trade to technical specialization for participation in a real commercial scenario with very powerful economic and developmental results in rural agricultural communities of Venezuela.


Follow each of our activities closely through our YouTube channel.


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