Awamaki, Ollantaytambo, Peru

Awamaki was founded in 2009 so that a co-operative of 10 women could gain access to an international market, where they used their skills as weavers to generate an income from their work. The aim is to provide them with the skills they need so that they can do their part to help lift rural families and communities out of poverty. A series of studies has shown that an income in the hands of the women of Peruvian families is more likely to lead to an increase in child nutrition, health and education based spending. This also offsets the impoverished members of the community as the money they earn is reinvested into the community. 

This is unlike other charities in the way that rather than exist on donations and handouts, Awamaki operate much in the same way a business does in that they teach women the skills they need to be able to engage with the international economy in a way that best suits them. The results have been brilliant, with many of the women involved in the programme having reached deals with international traders of ethically sourced hand-made goods and subsequently been able to empower themselves within their families and their communities.

With various projects and artisanal co-operatives, the women of Awamaki have the choice of spinning yarn, fabric selection, natural dyes and sewing, but this is only half of the story. Awamaki offer women leadership workshops, life skills and English classes with the hope that this will help them succeed not just in business, but also in their local communities. There is also a sustainable tourism element to the organisation as they utilise the expertise of the local women to give meaningful, cultured tours and guides through Andean traditions and ways of life - which is not just an economical form of empowerment for the women involved, but it provides a brilliantly unique experience for the tourists that visit. They make such a fantastic impact on the lives of the families and communities of this area, from the economical benefits to the social inclusion of empowered women, Awamaki are providing a truly excellent service in the form of a highly innovative social enterprise. 

For more information please visit their website