In 2020, Peru had one of the worst COVID outbreaks, highest mortality rates, and longest lockdowns in the world. Awamaki's women artisan partners, and the rural villages where they live, have been significantly affected by the crisis.
In March, the government took drastic action in response to COVID-19. Overnight, borders were closed, the tourism industry shuttered, foreigners stranded, and public transport forbidden. Police and military patrolled the streets to enforce the lockdown, which ended up being one of the longest and strictest in the world.
Our female artisan partners sequestered in their remote villages. Without public transport, they need to walk many hours to reach the nearest market or store. But even if they do so, without income from tourism or sales of their crafts, it is impossible for them to buy essentials like medicines, fruits, vegetables, oil and rice.
These women and their families rely on tourism for nearly all of their cash income, and the indefinite suspension of international tourism is having severe effects on their livelihoods. While craft sales through our programs have helped somewhat, these sales are mostly to tourists in Peru and to small businesses in the U.S. Both have been affected by the pandemic.
We at Awamaki draw strength from our artisan partners. As they work their land, practice their craft, and take refuge in their community, we are deeply inspired by their resilience.
As part of our mission, we strive to give a hand up rather than a handout; opportunity rather than material support. But we recognize that sometimes, material support is what's most needed. Now is one of those times. Please join us in solidarity with these strong, resilient women leaders and extend your hand to support their families with a donation.
Our artisan partners have told us that their greatest need right now is food for their families. We are using donations to purchase essential food items like rice, oil, sugar, milk, tinned fish, and dry goods like beans and wheat berries.
With you, we can minimize the impact of the pandemic and ensure food and economic security for our female artisan partners and their families. Together, we have gotten this far, and together, we will get through this. Thank you for your support.