Southwestern College sends interested interns to the Andean village of Maras, Peru to work with children ages 4-12 in the elementary school and in an after-school program. This region, located at 13,000 feet, is very poor due to an ongoing drought and loss of crops and animals. Men and boys leave Maras to work in the tourist trekking industry; women stay home to care for children and work in the fields. Education is free only through grade 6.
The need for sources of income is great, and so the Andean Research Institute found a local village grandmother who still remembers the traditional weaving and ancient patterns of Maras. She was willing to teach a 3-month class, and 20 women signed up!
Southwestern College students have made donations to the Maras Children’s Fund over the past few months, so that we could send money to ARI for the project. The local ARI coordinator located sources of wool, dyes, and backstrap looms. Recently, the class was able to begin, and already women are weaving shawls, hats, and scarves.
The vision is that the project will continue past the 3-month initial class, so that the women can continue developing their skills and sell items in the tourist market.
Board Member, Andean Research Institute