Working as Community Health Workers and Artisans

After traveling through the village of Huilloc (pronounced wee-yoc) multiple times to work with our promotoras (Santusa, Vilma, and Teresa), I noticed that they were often found across the river in front of a big pink building doing what they did best—weaving. These intricately designed textiles take months to complete and many of them ultimately end up being 10-15 feet long. Throughout the visits I made during the fall, I watched the construction of the building until it looked to be a functioning store in late October. I got curious and wanted to go back and explore more. Elisa, one of the short-term volunteers, and I made the trip up to the store and guess who we found to be working there? Santusa – one of our promotoras!

Since Santusa was alone in the store, we used this opportunity to ask her questions about how the store started. An organization called ECOAN, an ecological Peru-based NGO, helped them set up their shop and worked with the women’s Artisan Cooperative to organize their business. As we looked around at all of the beautiful textiles that they had created, we were astounded at the amount of work that goes into each piece. With the help of ECOAN, the women in Huilloc set their own prices for their work and received 100% of the profits from selling their work, similar to what SVH partner Awamaki does in Ollantaytambo. Santusa showed us all of the pieces she made as she explained that the women in the Cooperative rotated through the store, working shifts for a month. With 95 women in the community involved, it was a hefty undertaking that will definitely be successful in the future as their store gains more popularity and advertisement. With such a cool community link, it was so exciting to see another role that our promotoras are occupying in their local communities.
Inside the artisan store in Huilloc
Inside the artisan store in Huilloc
A close-up of an intricately woven textile
A close-up of an intricately woven textile
SVH promotora Santusa works in the Huilloc store
SVH promotora Santusa (at right) works in the Huilloc store
Written by SVH Volunteer Adam Kraus
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