There are rural areas in South America where the indigenous population can farm sustainably but there's no opportunity for outside employment. In the region surrounding Ayacucho, Peru, a magnificent visual culture has been created through craftsmanship. We collaborate with artisans to help sustain this culture by building a marketplace for their wares.
Make a long term commitment to our artisan partners
We believe that by focusing on a few small regions we can keep our artisans working throughout the year. That maximizes their earnings and has the greatest impact on their families and communities.
Treat our artisans as business owners
We respect and trust our producers and that's reflected in how we conduct our business. By paying for our orders in full when they're placed, our groups can buy materials and meet payrolls without having to seek outside financing.
We follow recognized Fair Trade principles
Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers
Develop transparent and accountable relationships
Promote fair trade
Pay promptly and fairly
Support safe and empowering working conditions
Ensure the rights of children
Cultivate environmental stewardship
Respect cultural identity
The Quechua are direct descendents of the Incas and make up almost one third of Peru's population. Primarily
located in the Andes, they live in small villages and farm small plots of land. Poverty is severe with a high incidence
of single motherhood.
The artisans live in the highlands surrounding town; some close by, some as much as four hours away. The Shining Path, a terrorist group that was active throughout Peru in the 1970's-90's, originated in Ayacucho. The town and its environs were subjected to intense violence. From 1980 to 1990, an estimated 200,000 people were driven from their homes, with about 18,000 killed.
The artisans live in small, mud brick buildings. Most lack electricity, plumbing, or adequate ventilation for cooking. The highlands have a long rainy season which usually damages homes and roads, making transportation difficult to impossible. Under these circumstances, the women form close, supportive alliances and work together on their embroidery.