Earlier this year Just Trade were kindly given a donation by one of our lovely customers, Indigo in Oxford to invest into the communities in which we work. It was decided that the money should be given to the Association Vidas in Ayacucho. In February Laura and Ali travelled to the province of Ayacucho, with Cristina and Nieves to present this donation and to investigate whether there was scope to expand the Zoe Project to this rural region, which is one of the poorest in the whole of Peru.
The poverty of the region has been exacerbated in recent years as it was used as the base for the terrorist organisation known as the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) with its campaign against the Peruvian government in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
The communities are still living with the horror of all that happened during this period. Many of the people we met had first hand experience, having lost family members and witnessed terrible atrocities.
It was obvious that the need for work was great and together with Rachel from Association Vidas, we quickly identified groups of women we could start working with.
The plan has been to start small, with a few women and just one product. With the centenary of the start of WW1 this year, demand for our crocheted poppies has increased. So in February we started a training programme to make poppy brooches.
Last month, Cristina was able to go back to the region and expand this group further. The women have been quick to learn the process and are now happily producing flowers for the Imperial War Museum. For us it seems pertinent that those who have been affected by conflict the other side of the world are involved in producing products of remembrance, and this in turn is giving them fairly paid work and hope for the future.
We would like to thank Indigo for giving us the incentive to go to Ayacucho in the first place and the Imperial War Museum for their continued orders that is now making a difference to yet more marginalised women in Peru.