TO DO 2019 Awamaki, Peru
Awamaki means “handmade“ in Quechua, the language of the indigenous population of the Peruvian Andes. Awamaki was founded in 2009 on the Northern slope of the Valle Sagrado, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The organisation markets handmade textiles and handicraft. Awamaki was founded by Kennedy Leavens from the US who had lived in Ollantaytambo, the centre of Awamaki’s activities, and now supports the organisation from Seattle. The organisation’s objective is to support indigenous women in their professional self-employment, to market their textiles made from alpaca and sheep wool in a fair manner, and to provide the small businesses with access to the global market. Apart from fair trade, Awamaki also supports sustainable tourism projects in the rural communities. The programme has many facets. Apart from guided trekking tours various courses are offered: traditional preparation of food, dyeing of textiles, or weaving of unusual designs. Tourism is meant to generate an additional income, to prevent emigration of the population, and to fight poverty. However, this is often difficult, as the cultural differences between the visitors and the indigenous people who are rooted in their traditions may be large. By now, however, Awamaki is seen as a model for other organisations and regions, showing how tourism can be implemented in a careful manner: with small groups, no visits on weekends and holidays, and considerate sensitisation for traditions and taboos. What has jointly been achieved over the past ten years is guarded as a treasure.
618 Calle del Horno, Ollantaytambo