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October 2012: Opening New Opportunities for Women Artisans

posted Jun 2, 2013, 6:05 AM by Henrik Mitsch
Dear friends of Building Dignity,

For many, the arrival of fall is a busy time, characterized by back-to-school preparations and a quickened pace of work. In Lima, the change in season marks a refreshed commitment to our mission, as we seek creative ways to fuel neighborhood-led development.

Amidst this flurry of activity, we would like to share with you the stories of a few courageous women, who are working to expand their skill set, broaden opportunities for their family, and contribute to the development of their community.

Mujeres Emprende GroupIn May 2012, Building Dignity collaborated with the city government of Lima to launch a new program called “Mujer Emprende” (Enterprising Women), which enables women to generate income through the production and sale of artisanal crafts. Each week, women meet at the Center for Development with Dignity to learn the arts of sewing, weaving, knitting and more. The results—impeccably crafted jewelry, dolls and decorations—are then sold at artisan fairs throughout the city, allowing these women to support themselves and their families.

“Mujer Emprende” recognizes, however, that a woman’s well-being depends on much more than her income. Thus, workshop facilitators interweave artisanship with discussions of self-esteem, domestic violence, women’s rights, gender equality, preventative health, and leadership.

We invite you to meet some of the women of “Mujer Emprende” through their own words:

Jenny Rojas Rodríguez
Jenny Rojas Rodríguez
, 30 years old: “I joined the program ‘Mujer Emprende’ to learn and to overcome challenges. I really like the crafts, and the income they generate help my family. I hope that this program grows and attracts the support of other institutions so that we can become business women, capable of supporting our families.”

Mercedes Flores Segura
Mercedes Flores Segura
, 27 years old: “I joined this program because I wanted to learn new things. I have participated in the workshops for five months, and I feel very happy because I have learned so much and because the Center welcomes us with such kindness. The Center for Development with Dignity offers us a space to develop ourselves through ‘Mujer Emprende’ and the opportunity to participate in other workshops and programs.”

Clida Flor Echevarria Rufino
Clida Flor Echevarría Rufino
, 36 years old: “They invited me to participate in the program by visiting my home and telling me they were going to offer free workshops. It seemed like a good opportunity, so I signed up with my sister. I have learned how to make beautiful handicrafts. We have organized ourselves, and I am now the president of the group. Together, we have visited artisan fairs in Villa El Salvador and other districts. We rely on this small income and hope to do more to promote our products, which we create with much love and professionalism.”

“Mujer Emprende” is another avenue by which Building Dignity seeks to fuel community-led development through empowerment and education. For us, it has been a pleasure to work closely with these women. On behalf of the 16 participants of “Mujer Emprende,” a heartfelt thank you for your support!