Awamaki

Awamaki collaborates with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.
Dec 2, 2013

Thank you and a video from Awamaki

Dear donors, 

This year at Awamaki, we are thankful for you. You provide us the funds to give women the skills and opportunity to earn an income and lift their families out of poverty. You believe in us and you invest in our women and their potential. Thanks to you, this year we have:

  • Provided high-quality skills training enabling our knitters to produce knitwear that is internationally desirable
  • Helped our knitters sell their knitwear to global retailers (from Zappos to ABC Carpet to mom-and-pop fair trade stores all over the U.S.) 
  • Run out of knitwear and thus added a new knitting cooperative of 20 women!
  • Provided intensive leadership training and local and international networking opportunities to weavers who are among our most remote, impoverished Quechua-speaking women so they can take leadership in their cooperative business and in their communities
  • Sent teams of staff and volunteers into the field to conduct surveys, interviews and focus groups with all the women with whom we work so that we can better understand their household economies, serve their needs, and help them meet their financial goals.

We couldn't do this without you, and that's why we made this thank you video

Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Links:

Sep 10, 2013

Awamaki's Spanish teachers learn to teach Quechua!

Spanish class language exchange
Spanish class language exchange

Awamaki’s Spanish teacher cooperative has been up to awesome things! The Spanish classes taught by the women at the Awamaki office here in Ollantaytambo have been running smoothly. Recent volunteers and tourists have been enjoying their lessons, while the women are becoming adept teachers and earning a greater income to support their families. Many of the students have expressed satisfaction with the conversational-style classes. Yesterday, Sonya Beatriz, an Awamaki volunteer, made a Peruvian fusion pizza with her Spanish teacher, Jenny, giving her the chance to practice her newly learned conversational skills in a casual, real world setting!

A handful of women from the cooperative are also currently training to teach Quechua lessons. Not all of the women in our teaching cooperative know how to speak Quechua, but those that do have offered to teach classes to interested tourists and volunteers. Quechua is an eloquent indigenous language that, like indigenous languages across the world, is disappearing. While many of the communities that Awamaki works with still speak Quechua, they are converting more rapidly each year to speaking Spanish, so that they can communicate with a larger audience and have access to increased economic opportunities. By offering Quechua classes, Awamaki and the teachers cooperative hope to help keep the language alive and encourage speakers to place a higher value on speaking the language. Teaching foreign visitors the language helps preserve it and allows visitors to the Andes the opportunity to communicate at a basic level to the women of our cooperatives and other indigenous communities. 

Quechua is a language that has only recently standardized its orthography, and therefore there are not sufficient teaching materials or teaching aids to assist teachers. Awamaki’s Community Education team, comprising of staff and volunteers, got together to create their own course structure, as well as other teaching supplements such as worksheets and homework handouts. The women who will be teaching Quechua have been spending time with other members of the Ollantaytambo community who teach language classes, collecting ideas on how to better formalize the course. Classes will aim to teach only the basics of the language. Awamaki is currently seeking funding to further develop the course and invest in the teachers’ skills. For now, the teachers will start with a trial run of the basic course so that any revisions and improvements can be made.

The opportunity to teach Quechua opens up new customer markets for the teachers, giving them the chance to to teach more hours each week and earn more money for themselves and their families. The women are also extremely excited about the chance to help preserve their native language! Through teaching Quechua, they will get to connect visitors to their heritage in a way that is meaningful and lasting.

Your support makes it possible for Awamaki to provide ongoing training to the teachers and connect them to greater global markets so that they can earn an income to support their families and transform their communities. Thank you for your generosity in supporting this project. The women of Awamaki’s Spanish teachers cooperative are extremely grateful of your donations. We look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the Quechua classes.

Sep 10, 2013

Awamaki's women explore cultural identity!

Cultural identity workshop in Patacancha
Cultural identity workshop in Patacancha

Awamaki’s Capacity Building Project is full of exciting updates! The Global Giving fundraiser that we held in June to raise money to send our weavers on a visit to another women’s group in Puno was a huge success thanks to all of our generous donors.  A large part of the women from the Patacancha cooperative will be going on the trip in a few months time thanks to the money earned from the fundraiser! Women in the Andes have very little opportunity to travel or build networks with other women in business.  Examples of women leadership or economic success in their communities are rare.  Even a short trip to a different region of the country will be instructive and inspiring.

The Patacancha weavers have been busy with a series of intercultural leadership workshops.  The goal of the workshops is to cultivate leadership in the women so they have the confidence and skills to take over management of their cooperative business; next in the series are workshops on administrative skills and technical skills. These leadership workshops focus on connecting the women to their cultural identities through team building games and discussions about how to face challenges as a group of indigenous people. The women also had a chance to discuss the challenges and roles of being a woman in remote communities in the Andes today, and how some of these challenges can be effectively addressed.  Awamaki has partnered with the Centro Bartolome de las Casas (CBC) to carry out the workshops. The CBC has over 40 years of experience promoting indigenous empowerment in the Cusco region.

Without the kind and generous support of our donors, Awamaki would not be able to organize capacity-building trips and workshops for our cooperatives.  In order to continue to increase the success and autonomy of our cooperatives, we put tools and knowledge directly in the hands of the women artisans. By learning new ideas and rediscovering their own cultural identities, the women are empowered to make positive changes in their daily lives and in the running of the weaving cooperative, ensuring their future economic success and their ability to earn income and transform their communities.  Thank you again for all of your support!

Women from Patacancha during an identity workshop
Women from Patacancha during an identity workshop
Team building activity in Patacancha
Team building activity in Patacancha

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