This year the Hope Jewellery Project in Lima, Peru took part in the 'Hand Medal Project'. The project was established by artists Iris Eichenberg and Jimena Ríos with the aim of honouring health workers who have worked throughout the Covid pandemic and to acknowledge the sacrifices they made. Jewellers were invited to take part in the project by making hand medals, all following the same design, which were then given to health workers in their country. The global project had over 3,000 jewellers participate and distributed medals at 309 hospitals internationally. Each participant was allocated a number which was marked on their hand so the receivers could look up who had made the medal for them.
Hope Jewellery's project leader Cristina was selected to be the 'hand keeper' for Peru and was in charge of coordinating all the jewellers involved in Peru. Six jewellers from Hope Jewellery took part and were joined by three other jewellers from outside the project. Together they made 202 medals that were handed out across three locations.
The first location was the Pan-American village - Esalud Lima. The centre has been temporarily set up to help cope with the pandemic in the village that was originally built to house participants of the Lima, 2019 Pan and Parapan American Games. Patients in the early stages of covid and who are at high risk are treated and kept in isolation here with the aim of preventing them from needing intensive care treatment and the use of ventilators which are in short supply in Peru. There are also a number of field hospitals that have been set up in the grounds of the development for patients that need medical monitoring and oxygen treatment. One of the jewellers taking part in the project was treated at the centre herself for Covid at the start of the pandemic and this is how the team made contact with the doctor they coordinated with there.
The second location to receive medals was a clinic run by Raquel Yupanqui in Ayacucho. The clinic specialises in working with the elderly community there and also provides health care for those living in rural areas that don't have access to any locally. Raquel is a close friend of the Hope Jewellery project and helped to expand the crochet team out in to the provinces, providing work for the remote community there. During the pandemic the clinic has helped to provide medical care and carried out home visits to those in areas that are hard to reach.
Hospital Tacna was the final location and is situated in the south of the country in the region of Tacna. Medical staff there have worked through out the pandemic to provide medical care to those suffering from Covid. The contact for this hospital was made by one of the jewellers not from Hope jewellery that was participating in the project.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a direct impact on many of the families working for the Hope Jewellery project and the wider community. When asked how it felt to be involved in the Hand Medal Project, Cristina responded that she and the rest of the team were all very committed to making their medals to the highest standard as they knew they were going direct to the medical staff. They wanted to show their gratitude and to honour the amazing work the health workers had done and continue to do. They also felt very proud to be part of an international project and that when all united they could achieve something by recognising the work of health personnel. When receiving the medals the medical staff were all very flattered for the recognition and said that they were very happy and honoured to do this work during the pandemic.
- For more information on the Hand Medal Project visit their website here.
- For any Spanish speakers you can watch an interview with Cristina on Diver Gentes news discussing the project, here.