This Spring, Awamaki Lab officially opened the doors of its sewing co-operative space and began its capacitationes program. With much elbow grease and the discovery of our staff’s latent construction skills, we transformed an old office into a fully functioning production site for three novice seamstresses. Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to purchase four sturdy second-generation industrial sewing machines, a serger, a fabric-cutting table, miscellaneous notions, trims and fabric, and pay for a local sewing professor and daycare services.
Our costueras, Justa Mercado Torres, Florentina Mercado Santacruz and Estela Mamani Cayllahua delved headlong into an intensive two-month sewing course, advancing rapidly in quiet determination, and generating a level of output that belies their small group numbers. As mothers, wives, farmers, and craft enthusiasts, these women applied their impressive multi-tasking skills to a challenging sewing curriculum, and our humble co-operative quickly gained momentum. Their progress was mentored by two wonderful sewing professors: Nayantara Banjeree, a professional seamstress from NYC known as the Williamsburg Seamster, and PaulaVera Huillca, a local seamstress and small business owner.
The objective of Lab is to harness the talents of women in the district of Ollantaytambo by creating jobs that build confidence and extend beyond scope of the local tourism market. In three short months, Nayantara and Paula advanced this mission by tailoring a sewing curriculum to the specific needs of our co-op members, teaching them accuracy, control of machine speed, hand sewing, pattern cutting, and finally, full garment production. Just this week, Justa, Florentina and Estela triumphantly finished production on their first order of Season 1 skirts!
Select styles from the Season 1 Nieli Vallin collection will soon be available for sale on our online store, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on all future sewing and design breakthroughs. We share more anecdotes and details of our training program on our blog: http://www.awamaki.org/awamakilab.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
It has been a long time since our last update and a lot has taken place in the intervening months. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on our current work and future plans.
The most active aspect of our health program recently has been in working with disabled individuals throughout the district of Ollantaytambo. After conducting a general census of the population to identify indivudal cases and determine the needs of those individuals we have continued work with a group of ten patients. So far we have helped two receive wheelchairs, gotten a walker for a young woman who suffers from epillepsy and an orthotic shoe for a polio survivor. Some of the assistance we hope to offer in the near future includes getting a hearing aid for a hearing-impaired boy, corrective eye surgery for another and epilepsy medication for another. See the attached link for more information on some of the patients we work with.
In the area of health education we are currently in the planning and fundraising stage of a new outreach program. The idea of this project is to work with women from the indigenous community of Patacancha to train them as community health promoters. Awamaki has a long-standing relationship with this community through our fair-trade textiles project and we are excited about the possibility of expanding this relationship into the area of community health.
We are currently participating in the South America “Open Challenge” Fundraiser which is being sponsored by Global Giving’s Clarissa Driban. If we can raise the most of any project by June 30th then Clarissa will make a monthly donation of $100 for one year. All of the money that we raise for the project during this period will be designated to offering assistance to the highest priority patients in our disability outreach program.
Please help us spread the word about this fundraiser so that we can reach our goal and offer much-needed assistance to our beneficiaries. Thank you for your continued support!
Dear supporters of "Daycare for Kids of Working Mothers in Rural Peru,"
Thanks to your generous support, the Yachay Wasi school and daycare center in Ollantaytambo recently opened its doors. Guillermina Sanchez, founder and director of the school shared some of her notes about the first weeks of school. She writes,
"Yachay Wasi colegio – cuna jardín opened its doors on March 14th with 14 children of 4 and 5 years old.
We organized a meeting with the parents. They were really open and excited about the project. They all showed interest to cooperate and get involved in the learning and development of their children.
We are developing good ways of communicating to create relationships based on trust and honesty to be able to best answer the children´s needs.
At the moment, the development of the program is in progress. The teachers are trying to integrate different elements of a few interesting methodologies, such as the High Scope Curriculum, the Tierra de Niños project, the Mathematics Enhancement Programme and English learning as a second language.
During these two weeks children have started to get used to the routine, the group, teachers and new environment. They show enthusiasm and have settled in really well.
They are curious about the activities proposed and they enjoy the freedom we offer them to choose and plan their daily work.
And most importantly, children are very happy to come to school every morning!"
This project is off to a great start, and your support has made a huge difference. While most resources up to this point have been directed to getting the school up and running, we still need to raise funds to make the school attainable for children of all income levels. Please help us by telling your friends and family about the project.
Again, thank you for your generous support and we look forward to updating you on our progress throughout the year.