We embroider our dreams
Launched in March 2022 and supported by the Occitanie region, the Mama Killa bag and accessory workshop, as well named “learning and entrepreneurship program for gender equality in times of pandemic”, blew out its first candle!
An income-generating activity for the empowerment of women in the Santiago de Cusco district, the program aims to promote the economic emancipation of the women involved in the project, contribute to the financial autonomy of the Huchuy Yachaq social center, the project’s promoter, and thus strengthen the individual and collective empowerment of the district’s women.
During this first year, 15 women from the Hermanos Ayar neighborhood were trained in sewing, assembly, embroidery, embossing and painting techniques on fabric and leather, and in the use of various machines: sewing machines, embroidery machines, sergers, ironers and riveters.
Unfortunately, the workshop participation and regularity decreased over the year, as some women were forced to return to more remunerative work, particularly at the height of the social and political crisis when the cost of living in Peru rose sharply.
As the workshop enters its second year of operation, the craftswomen are focusing their energies on designing original products, finding places to display and sell their wares, and creating a partnership network to promote their work and production. Several orders are currently being made, and 45% of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the seamstresses. A catalog of products for sale can be viewed on their Instagram account.
Among the women trained, one has found a job as a seamstress and two have set up their own business. Finally, three new recruits will be trained this year by the women who joined the workshop last year and who are now taking on increasing responsibility for the management and development of Mama Killa. A collaboration with Casa Colibri Multimarca, a showcase for the work of Cusco’s artisanal entrepreneurs, was also set up in June.
“The women of the neighborhood expressed their desire to learn, to become economically independent, to actively fight for their children’s education and to be recognized within their families and communities, and it was from their voices that the Mama Killa proposal was born. We rely on the strength of mothers, their will and their talent to develop skills that improve the quality of life of their families”. Marlene, director of Huchuy Yachaq center.