Community Based Knitting Projects at 13,000 feet
In 2008, in a joint project with Save the Children NGO in Bolivia, our unique sourcing model was expanded to 6 rural Aymara communities. This has been a success story which has provided us incentive to continue with our production philosophy, and, to expand to the other rural indigenous Andean communities we work with in Bolivia and Peru.
As is the case with many of the altiplano communities we work with, effective communication and a lot of patience were required at the beginning from all involved. Learning quality control standards, basic accounting, and how to organize themselves to meet deadlines and goals were focused on with the knitters. Weekly teaching and capacity building sessions, in their communities, enabled them to gain confidence in their work and in each other. Within months, the 6 distinct groups were able to function independently.
Over the past 8 years the relationship we have nurtured with these exceptional women has flourished. Approximately 200 women and their families directly benefit. Thanks to our loyal customers, these women have had year-round knitting projects since our partnership began.
Our community based production model enables artisans with scarce economic resources to integrate themselves and become a part of something larger than themselves. Through their hard work and dedication they become proud breadwinners, without having to leave their villages. In the process they learn organizational and business skills which prepare them for the future. Some go on to start their own businesses while others continue to knit, mixing their work with family life and local customs. All they need to begin this journey are their hands, creativity, and basic knitting tools.