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Market Access for Andean Women
Awamaki’s programs offer market access to our female Indigenous partners through the sale of their handcrafted fair trade textiles and accessories, both in Peru and internationally.
The Artisan Center will include a showcase retail space for our partner artisans’ crafts. This space will build on the success of Awamaki’s current retail shop in Ollantaytambo, where we sell accessories made from the artisans’ handcrafted textiles. The new store will open greater market access for our partner cooperatives. It will also contribute to Awamaki’s strong track record of running self-sustaining programs that create income for both the cooperatives and Awamaki’s operations.
Authentic and Meaningful Cultural Exchange
Awamaki’s sustainable tourism program connects our partners directly to the tourism market in Cusco’s Sacred Valley. Tourists visit the artisans in their communities, where the women share their culture and sell their textiles directly. Our program is top-ranked on Tripadvisor and has won international recognition including the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow award.
The heart of the new Artisan Center will be a vibrant demonstration area where our artisan partners can welcome tourists with the meaningful cultural experience that is the hallmark of their village visits. The women will use the space to demonstrate the weaving process, teach weaving lessons, and sell their textiles directly to visitors. It will include areas for demonstrating raw fiber, spinning, plant dyeing, and weaving on the backstrap loom.
The new center is located along scenic riverfront, on the main route to Machu Picchu, with stunning mountain views. The attractive and accessible location will allow more women to participate in our work, even if they live too far away to host tourists in their own communities.
Deep Partnership with Artisan Entrepreneurs
Indigenous women in the Andes are deeply skilled in spinning, weaving and the arts of Peru’s rich textile heritage. At the same time, these women face Peru’s highest poverty rates and some of the world’s lowest female literacy rates.
Awamaki works with cooperatives of women artisans to offer a comprehensive program of technical assistance, business training and leadership development, as well as market access for their incredible skills. We graduate artisans from our training program as independent cooperatives so they can launch successful businesses with a portfolio of clients beyond Awamaki.
The Artisan Center will offer our partner cooperatives space to grow their product lines and connect directly with wholesale customers for their work; it will also serve as a central location to bring artisan cooperatives together for learning and collaboration.
Coming Back Stronger
In recent decades, the Andean communities where our partners live have ushered in huge changes, building roads, schools and a small tourism industry. The effects of the pandemic, combined with civil unrest, unraveled much of this progress. Isolation and economic insecurity has brought immense hardship to these communities.
At the same time, the tourism industry in Peru has undergone significant disruptions, and as people return to travel, their interest in meaningful experiences is higher than ever. At Awamaki, we have the opportunity to help shape the new normal for travel in the Sacred Valley, especially as tourism is only now beginning to resurge.
A thriving Artisan Visitor Center in the heart of the Sacred Valley will power the cooperatives’ business recovery and turn a women-led sustainable tourism project into a must-visit destination for all who travel to Peru.