Awamaki

Awamaki collaborates with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.
Jul 27, 2012

High season, high spirits!

teaching weaving
teaching weaving

Thanks to you, our amazing donors, we have been able to raise nearly $2000 for capacity-building workshops for our women artisan cooperatives in rural Peru. We are hard at work putting these donations to good use!

Our knitters have been busily engaged in skills workshops in reading patterns, making sweaters and quality finishing techniques. Our seamstresses have made great strides in their sewing abilities, and are now making skirts and pillowcases almost twice as quickly as before - which means more income (and less frustration!) now that they are a year into their training. Their hard work is paying off!

In June, we gave our first tourism workshop with our rural Quechua weavers. We put into motion a new plan to offer Weaving Immersion Workshops to tourists through our weaving cooperative in the tiny community of Patacancha. This allows our weavers to earn additional income from hosting tourists in their homes and teaching them the traditional art of weaving on the back strap loom. As part of this project, a group of six weavers with an interest in teaching and providing homestays to tourists were selected from the cooperative of 44. The 6 women, Felicitas, Jesusa, Margarita, Cecilia, Yolanda and Doris  then participated in four workshops led by Awamaki's Weaving Project Coordinator, Mercedes Durant focusing on communication, organization, hospitality, and teaching. Former volunteer and Columbia professor Anna Craycroft, who worked with Awamaki in April to develop the teaching curriculum accompanied by a workbook to walk students through weaving basics in English. 

In July, we sent up our first group of student guinea-pigs (not the edible kind, the testing kind!) to test out the program with great results from both the weavers and students. The weavers are excited to participate because it means a higher and more stable income for something that they already know and enjoy doing, and the chance to impart this traditional knowledge to people from other cultures. Students enjoy get an in-depth look at the weaving process and the ability to weave basic designs on their own. 
The 4-day Weaving Immersion Workshop costs $275 is run by Awamaki and includes transport to and from Patacancha, a three-day homestay with all meals included, twelve hours of weaving lessons, and a gift basket of fresh fruits and veggies for the homestay family. This touristic offering will be an important source of income for our women weavers in Patacancha and their families.
Workshops for the next few months will include more skills development work, trainings for our new spinning cooperative, and a new business skills development curriculum for the women of all our cooperatives to begin to teach them the skills they need to take greater leadership over the project.
Yolanda
Yolanda
Margarita
Margarita
Jesusa
Jesusa
Felicitas
Felicitas
traditional andean backstrap loom
traditional andean backstrap loom

Links:

Jul 26, 2012

Thank you for supporting rural health!

Dear friends, 

I am writing to thank you for your continued support of rural health access and education in rural Peru. We are in the midst of some exciting and transformative changes in the program here.

As some of you may know, Awamaki started as a social enterprise working to create access to economic opportunities and sustainable tourism among the most marginalized populations of the Sacred Valley. The health program grew out of our volunteer program, thanks to the passion, ideas, energy and hard work of a number of volunteers we placed in the local health clinic between 2009 and 2011. Earlier this year, the health program - the work of which encompassed the medical clinic and health promotora projects described in this GlobalGiving project page - grew to a size in which Awamaki's staff and leadership decided it would do better if we were to spin it off as an independent organization. Awamaki is run by people passionate and experienced in social enterprise, fair trade products, sustainable tourism and global volunteerism. We are not, however, health professionals, and the needs of our growing health program were becoming more than we could readily meet.

As such, we are excited to announce to you the launching of Sacred Valley Health, our health-focused partner in community development in rural Peru. Sacred Valley Health is run by a capable team, including non-profit professionals and Peruvian and U.S. health professionals. In the last few months, Awamaki has been nurturing the organization to the point where now, we have decided to fully part ways, and wish our friends and partners the best as they complete the transition to an independent organization.

Donations to this project have gone to the rural health project as the organization made its transition. Sacred Valley Health has been busy launching its community health workers program, supporting the new municipal mobile clinic, amd building relationships with the Ministry of Health here in Peru. They have staff and volunteers working in seven communities, meeting with community leaders, recruiting women to be health promoters, and designing curriculum. Here in an excerpt from a recent blog post of theirs:

We are currently hard at work to complete the “community needs assessment” in all 7 pilot communities where Sacred Valley Health is launching a community health worker program.  This entails traveling to 7 unique (and quite rural) communities of predominantly Quechua-speaking people to obtain basic demographics and resident opinions on the general health of the town’s population.  Ideally we will design the curriculum for teaching our promotoras based on the survey results.  Thus far, the Oscar for most common illness/malady goes to… gripe.  Congrats to the common cold for making the life of the residents of Kelccanka, Yanamayo, Patacancha,Huilloc, Pampallacta, Piscaccucho, and T’astayoc more difficult than it already can be!

Your support has been essential during this time of start-up and transition. As you may have noted, I am now marking this project as fully funded. Some day, Sacred Valley Health may enter their own GlobalGiving Open Challenge and make a page on this site; if and when they decide to do so, I hope you will continue to support them through GlobalGiving! In the meantime, I encourage you to follow their work, and continue to offer your support to the organization as it grows and continues to improve the public health of the rural communities of the Sacred Valley. Their website is sacredvalleyhealth.wordpress.com.

Thank you for your committment to this project and to improving the lives and health of rural communities in Peru. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at kennedy@awamaki.org, or Sarah Fitzgerald at sftizgerald@sacredvalleyhealth.org.

Links:

Jul 18, 2012

Patient Empowerment II

Alex and volunteer Natasha in the sun
Alex and volunteer Natasha in the sun

Dear supporters,

Thank you for your help and support with our disabilities program in the Sacred Valley region of Peru.  We have really appreciated your efforts in backing our endeavors to improve the lives of disabled people in the Sacred Valley.

As you know from prior reports, we are seeking for sustainable long-term solutions for each of our patients to ensure they will still receive the care and support they need as we work towards broader goals of improved rural health in general. As follows is an update about the situation and progress with each of our program participants.

We have three patients with whom we are currently working. Roxanna is 11 years old and has been diagnosed with epilepsy. Her family cannot afford the seizure medication needed to manage her seizures. Therefore she is unable to attend the local school because the teacher does not know how to handle the situation. We are working towards enrolling Roxanna in a school specialized for children with disabilities. Attending this school will enable Roxanna to receive the specialized care and attention she needs to succeed in school.

Alex is 13 years old and has cerebral palsy. He currently stays at home in his bed all day because his family has to work and he has no other means of transportation. We are in the process of securing a firmer mattress to increase his back support and enforce better bed railings to ensure his safety. We are also partnering with another organization, MySmallHelp, to obtain a wheelchair that can be fitted to Alex specifically in the hopes of transporting him to the school specializing in children with disabilities.

Jose is 20 years old and has cerebral palsy as well. He has great family support but his mother is a single working mom and both his siblings attend school during the day, so he stays home alone usually. Unfortunately due to his age, the school for children with disabilities is hesitant to enroll him in their program. However, they have an outreach program for children unable to attend the school. We are in the process of working with the school to have Jose be a part of the outreach program and receive more care and therapy.

We are close to reaching sustainable long-term solutions for each of our patients; we estimate that transportation for meetings with the schools and visits to make these plans, and the construction of Alex's bed rails will cost only an additional $200 over the next three months. (We are revising our project goal accordingly!)

We appreciate your continued interest, help and support with the disability aid project. With your help and support we have been able to impact our patients' lives in very positive ways. We really appreciate it and please don't hesitate to email us at (health@awamaki.org) if you have any further questions about the future of our program!

Volunteer Ruth reading to Jose
Volunteer Ruth reading to Jose
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