Today marks the last day of HELP Women week! Thank you to our amazing volunteers and leaders who took part and allowed us to gain a closer look into their experiences of the project. For an overview of the week, including a message from our programme manager, a blog from our coordinator and an interview with one of our mums on the project, check out our summary below…
On Tuesday we received a message from our HELP Women programme manager, Jenny Kehoe.
‘The HELP Women programme is about supporting and empowering women in and around Huanchaco. Since this project began in 2011, we’ve been working with several groups of women, but currently we are mainly working with a group of women who attend a local Comedor. We started collaborating with and supporting this women’s group in June 2013, although the Comedor is an institution that has been up and running for over a decade.
The vast majority of women with whom we work receive a very low income, consequently they struggle to make ends meet. Generally they have not had access to good education. Most of them did not finish school and several of them are unable to read and write. Many women in Peru are often unaware of their rights, live with domestic violence and many girls get pregnant at a very young age. So there’s lots of work to be done!
One element of this programme is to support with topics such as family planning, healthy eating and making the women aware of the rights that they do have. However, our main focus is on offering two different workshops in sewing and baking. These will give the women a means to earn an income by creating their own microenterprises.
Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, both workshops now have their own space – well, the baking space is opening very soon! As well as help with technical skills and equipping the spaces, we also involve basic business skills into the workshops and help the women to find possible new opportunities to sell their products. The microenterprises are now really beginning to take off – particularly the baking group “Las Dulcecitas”, which is fantastic to see!
Some days the progress made can be much slower than you’d hoped for, but sustainability is really important. When you see the women really taking control of the decisions and enjoying the results, then you know that the hard work has all been worth it.’
On Wednesday we gave you a closer look into the experiences of HELP Women Coordinator, Junga Lee. Head to http://otracosa.org/inside-help-women-life-women-coordinator/ to read her blog!
On Thursday we shared with you an interview with one of our mums on the project, Flor.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working in both of the women’s workshops; baking and sewing. We are 3 mums participating in the baking workshop and 5 in the sewing. With baking we usually start at 8:30am with the preparation of the cakes which we sell in the afternoon. We attend the sewing workshop twice a week in the afternoons. In our free time we work on our sewing. We are currently finishing an order of 43 embroidered bags.
What has been your favourite memory of the project?
My favourite memory of the project has been having the volunteers here. I enjoy the nice moments we have spent together. We tried to make the most out of the time they are with us.
In what ways have the volunteers helped the project?
Each volunteer has different strengths. It is important to make the most out of the strengths of each single volunteer and her individual character.
What do you hope to achieve with the project?
My dream is to have a big bakery one day.
For more information on the specific positions available please visit our website at http://otracosa.org/projects/help-women/.