Textile Teaching Course, Peru

In 2011 Forgirlsake teamed up with The Alma Foundation to fund a unique grassroots project in the High Andes of Peru, and raised $5,700 in support of a traditional arts course that gave indigenous girls the opportunity to teach other students, and attend school.

These girls, from the remote village of Huilloc, located some 3,500 metres above sea level in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, rarely had the opportunity to descend to Urubamba on the Valley floor. The project provided these and other indigenous girls the opportunity to overcome the confines of poverty and social stigma, and attend high school.

This project aimed to build teenage girls’ self esteem by enabling them to become ‘Yachachiq’ (Those Who Teach). By doing so, they could become leaders in the community, and gain a sense of self-worth. By integrating Indigenous children from the mountain villages with the primarily Mestizo and Spanish town children, we helped bridge the deep social divide between indigenous people and Peru’s mainstream society. The impact on the indigenous girls was dramatic — they became more confident, their popularity rose, and their academic scores improved. Not only did their employment help to reduce economic hardship, but the example they set motivated more young people to come down to the school and participate.

What’s happening now?
Over the last six years, Alma has expanded its reach to 31 vulnerable communities in Peru and Bolivia. They are running 28 educational programs that support indigenous children and have had great success. For more information on these projects please visit www.almafoundation.ca