BENEFITING: Nourish International
ORGANIZER: Nourish International
Chapters: University of Dayton and Whittier College
Partner Organization: Helping Hands Cusco
This year the Dayton and Whittier Chapters are partnering with Helping Hands Cusco in Cusco, Peru to implement an all-natural handicraft business to be run by women in the community. These women, who suffer from high rates of domestic violence and economic suppression, will use the funds generated from their business to support themselves and their children, improving the quality of life for families in Cusco.
In Cusco, Peru over 50% of people live below the national extreme poverty line with 26% living on less than one U.S. dollar per day. Within this region, literacy and employment rates of men are much higher than those of women. Additionally, one in three women in Cusco suffers from sexual, physical or psychological violence inflicted by male figures in their life. The abuse they face hinders their ability to live independently by preventing them from finding a job or acquiring the skills necessary to obtain one.
This has been a harmful trend in Cusco for countless years. Despite these odds, fourteen determined mothers of this community came together and resolved to find a way to put an end to this trend and liberate themselves in order to be able to provide a better lifestyle and safer environment for their families.
Although these women almost always lack the necessary proficiencies or level of education to be able to acquire a job, they do possess the skills to produce all-natural handmade handicraft products. Seeking to make a change in their lives, these fourteen women have formulated a brand, The Warmi Maki Women’s Hands, through which they can produce and sell their own goods to generate profit, solely benefiting themselves and their children. The women have already empowered themselves to take action this far, however, given their circumstances, the only thing they are lacking is the materials and space needed in order to help make their dreams of Warmi Maki a reality.
The funds we raise through the Giving Challenge will be put towards building the first Warmi Maki Women’s Hand’s shop within the community of Cusco, Peru, creating a sustainable source of income for these women. By building and implementing this shop within the community, it will not only provide employment and financial support to these fourteen women’s immediate families, but also give them the ability to train other women and mothers within the community on how to produce handicrafts in order to become employed within this field of work. Essentially, the Warmi Maki Women’s Hands shop will be a benchmark achievement in the field of employment for underprivileged women everywhere in Peru while also empowering future generations with a means to support themselves without reliance on oppressive male figures within their lives.
Helping Hands Cusco was founded by Mario Diaz and Rosa Gutierrez in 2005. They had originally invested their time in helping children of the community, ensuring they were receiving a proper education and assisting with schoolwork. Soon after, Mario and Rosa saw how devastating the circumstances for so many children in this community were, and realized that the trend of unemployed women and mothers correlated to the poverty and hardship the children faced. Mario and Rosa then decided Helping Hands Cusco would commit to finding ways to prevent and reduce this trend. Henceforth, Helping Hands Cusco has worked to improve living standards for poor women and children, single mothers, and impoverished communities in and around Cusco, Peru.