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On the shores of Lake Piuray, at 3,689 metres above sea level, lives a small community of farmers whose first language is Quechua. They work the land and breed small animals such as cuys (guinea pigs), sheep, pigs and chickens, mostly for self consumption.
For centuries, knowledge in Quechua families has been passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. Women and men learn to weave when they're little, taught by their parents and grandparents. The colours and motifs on their traditional clothes vary from region to region and they each tell a story.
In some regions, these traditions have been lost. Many stopped wearing their traditional clothes to avoid discrimination. It's only in recent years that communities have started saving their traditions and acknowledging the importance of keeping them alive.
Due to their remote location and limited access to jobs, they find it hard to give their kids a better education and more opportunities in life. Women are now seeking economic independence by recovering their weaving traditions and selling their crafts to the public.
We've partnered with them, offering them a flexible and comfortable way to work that suits their lifestyles and helps them fulfil their and their families’ needs without having to leave their community. We're helping them reach a wider audience and educate outsiders about the importance and meaning of their craft.
We're also helping those who want to set up their own local businesses by giving them the tools, knowledge and support they need so they can be independent, even from us.
Betty is 28, she is married and has two small kids. Her grandmother taught her how to make traditional handwoven textiles when she was still a little girl. She wants to keep her and her ancestors' traditions alive by learning and sharing her crafts with the world.
Ignacia is 64, has seven kids and nine grandchildren. She is worried about her offspring and their little ones' future and wants to prosper making traditional handwoven textiles to help them out.
Mercedes is 78, she has eight kids and more than ten grandkids. Her grandmother taught her to make the traditional handwoven textiles and she considers them as part of her heritage, her culture and her identity. She speaks Quechua and only a few words in Spanish.
Flora is 50 and has two kids. She learnt to weave taught by the other women in the community. She says the income from her craft is very important for her family as what her husband brings home is not enough.
Cleofe has two kids. Her craft is her heritage and helps her feed her family. Her mother and grandmother taught her to make handwoven textiles and the the traditional patterns, and she's been doing it for 10 years now. She wants to keep her traditions alive and teach others to make these textiles so her culture doesn't disappear.
Maria works her craft to help her kids out. She is 51, has seven kids and two grandkids. Her mother taught her to make the traditional handwoven textiles when she was a little girl. Traditionally they made these textiles for the family: they made blankets and clothes. But now she needs the extra income to feed the family and help her kids and grandkids get a better education.
Lourdes is Cleofe's sister. They both come from a family of weavers and often get together with their mother, aunt and grandmother to weave. They want to set up their own business and are determined to make it work.
Elsa is 40 and has two daughters. She likes being an artisan and her craft allows her to support her family. She learnt to make handwoven textiles by getting together with her friends and seeing them make their textiles.
Justina is 50 has has three kids. She started knitting and making handwoven textiles when she was twelve and her grandparents taught her to make the traditional patterns from Chinchero (Cuzco). She wants the association to prosper so she can keep her traditions alive and also to help her kids get a better education.