The Quechua are direct descendants of the Incas and make up almost one third of Peru’s population. Primarily located in the Andes, they live in small villages and farm small plots of land. Poverty is severe with a high incidence of single motherhood.
Our artisans live in the highlands surrounding town; some close by, some as much as four hours away. The Shining Path, a terrorist group that was active throughout Peru in the 1970’s-80’s, originated in Ayacucho. The town and its environs were subjected to intense violence. From 1980 to 1990, an estimated 200,000 people were driven from their homes, with about 18,000 killed.
Our artisans live in small, mud brick buildings. Most lack plumbing, electricity, or adequate ventilation for cooking. The highlands have a long rainy season which usually damages homes and roads, making transportation difficult to impossible. Under these circumstances, the women form close, supportive alliances and work together on their embroidery.