Andes Mountains Artesanía
Threads of Hope is privileged to work in several small mountain villages in the Andes Mountains. In these villages the first language of the artisans is Quechua, many understand some Spanish but do not fluently speak it. Here are snapshots of the communities in which Threads of Hope currently works:
Santa Rosa de Cochabamba
In the village of Santa Rosa de Cochabamba the land is pristine and beautiful, the air – fresh and clear, clean spring and well water are available and a single power pole powers the village payphone. Adobe houses dot the village pathways. Cochabamba is fortuante to have a small health centre, intermittently staffed with a nurse and sometimes a doctor. There is a small school in the village, giving children access to an eduation through grade six, after that they must travel a fair distance to continue their schooling. Threads of Hope was honored to begin our work in Cochabamba in 2012. Beyond purchasing textiles, we’ve been privileged, through the Hope Grant Fund, to honor the artisan’s grant requests by purchasing building supplies and hiring village men to build a communal rain and shade shelter, provide proper equipment for sewing, supply small livestock for nutrition and income, and school supplies for the children. The more embroidered textiles we sell, the more positive impact we will have in this community.
At the end of a winding mountain path, known by some as a road, but certianly not a road meant for modern vehicles, one come upon the charming village of Llunchi. The undulating patchwork countryside, dotted with plots of crops, stretches as far as the eyes can see. A tiny elementary school provides half day education, three days per week, until children age out and then walk two hours to continue their schooling. A central well provided fresh water. Boiled potatoes are a diet staple. Threads of Hope was honored to begin our work in Llunchi in 2012. Just as in Cochabamba, beyond purchasing textiles, we’ve been privileged, through the Hope Grant Fund, to honor the artisan’s grant requests by purchasing building supplies and hiring village men to build a communal rain and shade shelter, providing proper equipment for sewing, supplying small livestock for nutrition and income, and school supplies for the children. The more embroidered textiles we sell, the more positive impact we will have in this community.
San Luis de Picha and Yanayaku
Turning off the two lane blacktop one ventures along a dirt road, then parks and walks on well-worn footpaths to the village of San Luis de Picha. The first view of the village is an open field for community play and picnics. A suspended foot bridge points the way to artisan homes. Women do laundary on the river banks, while children play and help with chores. It is a serene location, but poverty is real. Just down the path is the sister village, Yanayaku. Most of the women’s day is spent with children, farming, tending livestock and sewing. Ready cash is hard to come by and the money received from their embroidery is vital; for some it is their only source of monetary income. Threads of Hope was deighted to connect with the women of these two villages in 2013 and began working to empower their lives. After one year of empowerment, the artisans earned income from their sewing and the Hope Grant Fund fulfilled their requests for small livestock, school supplies, and lighting.
Late 2014 marked the beginning of our work with the artisans of San Rafael a charming small village with a medical centre, central courtyard, a primary and secondary school and an active entrepreneurial sewing group. This is the village in which ToH is doing the most hands-on training to empower the artisans to greater independence and a long-term, sustainable business. This artisan group is our most organic outreach in the Andes Mountains. They are self-managed and require patient mentoring to be able to create artistry of the quality and style of the American market. It has been our delight to train and empower this group. We were humbled to learn that for them, a centimeter is measured with a twig, marked to be a ruler. The “twig ruler” is our reminder how patiently we must proceed. The first order was made and fulfilled in 2016. We look forward to debuting their stunning artistry to the American market in early 2017.