Celebrating Motherhood: Insights from Andean Communities

For Mother’s Day, we chatted with some of the moms in our artisan cooperatives. We asked them about their experiences and beliefs to gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and joys they face in their roles as mothers.

Mother carries her child on her back while looking over the town.

Community Celebrations and Values:

In Patacancha, families celebrate Mother's Day by exchanging gifts, sharing meals, and offering flowers to their mothers. “On Mother’s Day we celebrate by gifting a flower, we share a meal in the school and give some gifts,” said Graciela. They celebrate in an intimate manner within their homes. These celebrations reflect the importance placed on honoring motherhood and the bond between mothers and their families. “I have breakfast with my husband, my mom, and my children. In the church, there’s a reflection from the word of God about how to be a mother,” said Jesusa.

Roles and Challenges of Motherhood:

The mothers we interviewed highlighted some fundamental roles of a mother. They mentioned the significance of taking care of their children, cooking, cleaning, and instilling responsibility. These tasks are viewed as essential for maintaining the well-being and upbringing of their families. 

“My job, as an artisan and mother, is to do my job with responsibility and also with the children to give them an education, health, and nutrition… The challenge is when the children grow up and get to the stage of adolescence and there are changes in boys and girls and you have to be attentive to them,” said Jesusa. 

It is evident that being a mother comes with its share of difficulties. Juggling various responsibilities, ensuring the education and growth of their children, and adapting to the changing needs of their families are some common challenges faced by these mothers.

Cultural Traditions and Teachings:

Mothers play a pivotal role in passing down cultural traditions and values to the next generation. They strive to preserve their cultural identity and customs within their communities. For instance, teaching skills like knitting and weaving, as well as imparting knowledge about traditional practices, is considered essential. “My mother taught me to weave and I am teaching this to my children,” said Maria. By doing so, they ensure the continuity and preservation of their rich cultural heritage. “I teach them to not lose our cultural identity and the values that we learned from our family that is very important for one everywhere,” said Jesusa.

Mother sits down with her child while she spins yarn and he enjoys a snack

The perspectives shared by these mothers from the AwacPhuna and Songuillay cooperatives provide a glimpse into motherhood in Andean communities. They demonstrate a deep commitment to their families, culture, and traditions. By celebrating and valuing the role of mothers, we acknowledge the incredible contributions they make to their communities and society as a whole.

About Awamaki

Awamaki is a nonprofit fair trade social enterprise dedicated to connecting Andean artisan weavers with global markets. We collaborate with women artisans to support their efforts towards educational and financial independence by co-creating beautifully handcrafted knit and woven accessories using hertiage techniques.