Above: A few of the members of the women’s craft cooperative, The Organization of Mothers, in Santa Rosa de Dinamarca with Village Earth representative. A Village Earth representative met with The Organization of Mothers this past July. The Organization of Mothers (Comite de Artesanos Senen Kena in the Shipibo language) was formed in 2002 when the women of Santa Rosa de Dinamarca realized the value of organizing the many artisans in their community for the benefit of working together , sharing materials, creating marketing plans and proposals, and also as a point of connection in order to access resources. Unfortunately, the group has been self-funded by the women and has not had access to the necessary resources to grow their organization into the self-sufficient artisan cooperative they envision for the future. Village Earth has been working with this community in planning and organizational development for the past 1 ½ years and was asked by The Organization of Mothers to help connect them to outside resources so they can grow their business. The Organization of Mothers is an organization of 32 women between the ages of 15-60. Currently, most craft production occurs in the home but they prefer to work together and are, therefore, in the process of creating a community artisan center where the women can meet and work collectively. They share a few materials and tools within their group, however, most materials are gathered independently. When the women can afford to travel to Pucallpa, all of the women will send money and lists of materials with the women traveling to Pucallpa. Many materials are gathered from the river and surrounding forests and women usually gather these items together in small groups for both safety and social reasons. Crafts are sold all over Peru mainly in major tourist centers such as Cusco and Lima, nearby cities such as Pucallpa and Tingo Maria, and also to the few outsiders who travel to Santa Rosa de Dinamarca. Traveling to these far away destinations to sell their crafts is very difficult for the women because of the expense and also because the women must leave their families behind for weeks at a time. They are currently working on a tourism program for their community in hopes of increasing the number of tourists to their community to which they hope to market their crafts. The women are also working with contacts in Canada and the United States to increase international export of their crafts.
They believe that increasing their craft production business will have a very positive impact on the whole community. They believe that through their traditional crafts they are asserting their rights to indigenous self-determination and reinforces what they describe as their endangered culture. By working together and increasing production they believe the quality of their crafts will improve as they work to market their crafts more to tourists and internationally. The income gained through the increased sale of women’s crafts will have a profound effect on the whole community as women are many times the sole cash income earners for their families. Currently, this community has many health problems and they believe that increased income from their craft sales will, in turn, lead to more money for health projects such as better quality health center and educational programs for the youth. They also believe that increased craft production will be of benefit to the natural world surrounding them because the women must care for the plants and animals they use in their craft production.
You can help to support the Organization of Mothers by:
- Making a financial contribution which will support the bulk purchase of craft materials and so they can finish their communal artisan center. By donating through Village Earth, all donations are 100% tax-deductible. You can send a check or money order to: Village Earth P.O. Box 797 Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA Or you can donate with a credit card by calling: 1-970-491-5754 Or online through Pay Pal on the Village Earth website **Please indicate that you wish to donate to the Organization of Mothers