Awamaki collaborates with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.
Oct 22, 2012

Update from the seamstresses!

Computer Classes with Flor and Justa
Computer Classes with Flor and Justa

Dear supporters,

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Awamaki Lab sewing cooperative. This is a special project report, written by Paula, one of the seamstresses (translated from the Spanish). We think this is a great testament to the increasing ownership and direction they are taking over the project!

Paula writes,

The achievements of the past months have been our improved mastery of the patterns. We have done a number of orders including 30 mini skirts, 20 outerwear pieces, 20 change purses, 20 clutches, 30 shoulder bags, 15 t-shirts and 10 iPad cases.

Currently we are working on 10 skirts, 10 shoulder bags, 10 Gargi-style bags, 4 belts, 3 ponchos, 30 coin purses and 50 clutches.

What we like about the project is the experience we are acquiring. We are learning about each collection. We are not just learning to sew but also to read patterns. Our favorite products to sew are the shoulder bags, skirt, change purses and the backpacks that we designed!

The challenges of the project for everyone have been improving the finishings on each item, and the new accessory items which incorporate techniques like grommet application.  We are still working to master these designs.

In the past few months, seamstresses have also taken charge of their production schedule, inventory and materials procurement.  This is the direction in which we are heading the next few months: increased mastery of products, increased leadership in managing orders, inventory and other cooperative business, and increased design responsibilities. The seamstresses continue to take workshops on technical skills, but we have expanded these workshops to include Excel, English, and local supply chain management.

Their products are being sold in our store in Ollantaytambo, online and in trunk shows in Seattle, San Francisco and New York this holiday season. They were recently featured in Vogue. Please contact us at for more information, and for sales/press inquiries. 

Your support has allowed Awamaki to teach four inexperienced seamstresses to sew, read patterns, and create products for the international market; now, they are learning to manage their cooperative business and create their own designs. With every accomplishment, they are earning an increased income to support themselves, their families and their communities. Thank you for your role in making this project possible!

*Translation help and edits by Kennedy Leavens, Executive Director, and Annie Millican, Director/Founder of Lab

Product Wall, featuring collaborative design work
Product Wall, featuring collaborative design work
Estella & Justa working alongside Quechua weavers
Estella & Justa working alongside Quechua weavers
Product pricing workshop
Product pricing workshop
Measuring raw materials for pricing
Measuring raw materials for pricing
Discussing textile specifications with weavers
Discussing textile specifications with weavers
Weavers self-managing Lab textile orders
Weavers self-managing Lab textile orders
Independent production work, Andria
Independent production work, Andria's outerwear


Oct 18, 2012

New phase for health projects and disabilities project

Hello supporters!

Sacred Valley Health, Awamaki's health spin-off, has been working hard on our disabilities campaign these past few months. As you know, SVH is a new organization with a focus on implementing promotoras (community health workers) in rural and underserved communities. Because of this we are sadly in the process of phasing out our disabilities campaign. Thus, we have made sustainable goals for each of our patients to ensure they will still receive the care and support they need even in our absence.

One of our patients, Paulino, a 52-year old man who suffered from a stroke 2 years ago, is currently in San Juan de Dios, a hospital in Cusco, receiving therapy three-times a week. Another one of our patients, Jose, a cheerful 20-year old with cerebral palsy, will be joining Arco Iris’ outreach program in the coming weeks. Arco Iris is a local school specifically geared towards children with disabilities. Their outreach program will enable Jose to be visited by a physiotherapist once a week as well as provide his family social and legal support.

You’ll also remember Nati, a spunky 76-year old woman who constantly reminds me that I cannot cook and will never be able to hook a man; she will continue to receive social support and interactions with volunteers from another organization, MySmallHelp (MSH). We have also been collaborating with MSH with our following two patients, Roxanna, an 11-year old with epilepsy, and Alex, a 14-year old with cerebral palsy. We hope that Roxanna will be able to attend Arco Iris in the next month. Their programs will enable her to receive more one-on-one attention with teachers specializing in children’s disabilities.

As for Alex,  our final funds from this project will go towards building him a new bedrail to prevent him from falling out of bed. We are also in the process of working with several organizations to determine a long-term sustainable solution for Alex. If you would like to continue to support us, please donate through

Thank you for your support of this project! 

Oct 5, 2012

Teachers Launch New Spanish Program!

Together with our 12 newly certified teachers, we have successfully launched the Spanish program at the Awamaki Language Center.  That means that after 6 months of dedication in our intensive training program, our local Spanish teachers are being rewarded with the additional income they need and deserve for their hard work.  For two weeks starting at the end of May, our teachers received their first classroom experience teaching with Fair Services in Cusco and then promptly returned to Ollantaytambo to begin teaching in Awamaki’s freshly supplied classrooms.

So far, the members of our new women’s teaching cooperative have earned a total of 9,314 soles by providing Spanish classes. That is over $300 each in just under 3 months. This is is a fantastic start and higher than we projected, and this money that will go directly towards supporting their families with the food and materials they need while helping cover the costs of a better education for their children- and this is just the beginning.  After these successful first months, we are expanding our advertising and continuing to provide flexible, quality Spanish education services for anyone in the area who is interested and wants to support our teachers.  In the coming months, we hope to fill our teacher’s schedules to maximize the impact of the program.   

To date, our teachers’ cooperative has received a total of 69 Spanish students, including both volunteers and tourists in Ollantaytambo.  By providing them with the highest quality education that we can, we are starting to spread the word to make Awamaki Language Center the socially responsible Spanish school of choice in town.

Right now the members of our women’s teaching cooperative are continuing to improve their skills in language education through hands-on experience.  In addition, we are currently collaborating with teachers and students to plan the next phase of trainings and workshops.  We want to base these workshops on the direct needs of the cooperative members so that they can continue to improve as teachers, develop the knowledge to lead their cooperative sustainably, and be enriched as independent people.  The educational options we want to provide them with range from financial literacy to nutritional cooking and yoga. 

We would like to thank each of you who supported this project for making these women’s success possible.  In the last 3 months, funding from the GlobalGiving site has been essential for continuing our teacher training programs and equipping our classrooms with the basics.  As we continue to support our teachers and look towards the future of our program, we are counting on additional support to upgrade our facilities and make sure that teachers receive the support they need in order to place Awamaki Language Center among the best language schools in Cusco.   

We thank you for your continued support and we look forward to keeping you updated on our new Spanish program.


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