Tuesday, April 26, 2011

krochet kids update

Well the little lady is requesting a public update on our Krochet Kids work.

As a pre-cursor, our language school is a large part of our work right now, but that hasn’t stopped us from digging into a few other work related things in the past three months.

I would say our efforts have been focused in three areas: legal setup, sourcing a knitting trainer/samples, and project site/partner search.

(1) Legal setup: Networking done this past summer by Adam Thomson, our KKI missions director, provided an early introduction to a local lawyer with a huge heart for marginalized Peruvians and the Krochet Kids program. Franklin and his firm are spending countless hours, FREE of charge, assisting us through the legal process. Krochet Kids Peru is currently an official Civil Association and we are nearly done with our NGO (non-governmental organization) status.

Here is our first document signing.

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(2) Sourcing a Knitting Trainer/Samples: Krochet Kids Peru beneficiaries will be producing a slightly different product line than our program in Uganda, Africa, where we make crocheted products. Here in Peru, we will be knitting. I am currently taking a knitting class to learn the lingo and some basics, however, I will be nowhere near ready to train our beneficiaries on how to make quality products (see below what I created in my first class - took me nearly an hour). So, I’ve been poking my head around local mercados (artesian markets), connecting with fair trade co-ops, and asking anyone I meet if they know a good knitter. Not only will this person train our first beneficiaries, but they will also create some samples to be sent back to KKI HQ where our design team will select the actual product line to be produced for holiday 2011 release.

My glorious virgin attempt at knitting.

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Some rough samples we had done at a local mercado. We were pretty pumped to see a few, new and fun knitted things we can make!

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(3) Project Site/Partner Search: This is probably the most important work I’ve been doing. We are searching hard to find who it is in Lima that can most benefit from the Krochet Kids income generation and capacity development program.

To date, I have met with almost a dozen organizations throughout Lima - existing NGOs, churches, social workers, anthropologists, and “extreme poor” communities. Honestly, this work is very sobering and emotionally draining. Each field visit I make, I encounter droves and droves of people living in inhumane conditions, with no access to water, sewer, and sometimes even without electricity. The Villa Maria district contains close to one million living in this poverty. If you think that’s a lot, San Juan de Lurigancho has over one million. Millions and millions of people have moved to the city with hopes of opportunity, only to find themselves living in a place that I have a hard time calling “a home.”

I quickly saw that finding a beneficiary isn’t going to be a problem, that’s why KKI strategically chose Lima. The discouragement sets in though when you continually talk with women and families facing these harsh realities every day. I wonder are we even going to make a dent? The amount of people living in poverty here is just soooo vast! It punches me in the mouth every time I encounter it. I ask, what in the world is the greater solution for this huge problem? Wrestling with that is a whole other post though, I guess. We are excited to work with however many as we possibly can.

In each visit I've been asking three major questions:
1. What are the living conditions like? What are the daily struggles and challenges? How do they provide for themselves?
2. Do people here still have hope or dreams for their lives? If they do, what may those dreams be?
3. If given a steady and fair paying job along with some additional training what kind of opportunities would they have to move beyond our program?

Interestingly enough, most groups can’t get past the first question as they explain the harsh realities. There is just a lot of pain and ugliness around that answer. I’ve been with people who experience domestic abuse, human trafficking, working 12 hrs. a day/7 days a week for $3 a day, the list goes on...

We are committed to visiting with as many people and organizations as possible thru the month of April. We want to do our best to hear from as many professionals and the people living in Lima’s extreme poverty as possible. We will select one potential project in early May and do a bit more in-depth study. If all goes well, we will begin contracting beneficiaries in early June. However, if we don’t find something we are comfortable moving forward with we will keep looking. This piece is just that important. Our program benefits a specific environment of poverty and we want to find that fit. Below are a few photos and a video to give you a taste of some sites I have been visiting.

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As a family and on behalf of Krochet Kids Peru, we eagerly anticipate getting into relationships with our first beneficiaries. We can’t wait to bring empowerment to women who are so desperate for change in their lives. We also can’t wait to learn so many beautiful things from them. It has been a tough three months for us as we are transitioning, but as we are working towards the reason of why we are here, it all begins to be worth it.

3 comments:

karamurano said...

I loved hearing about this part of your journey to Peru! I don't know you guys but I am faithful reader and just want you to know that I am praying for you and so inspired by what you do! Can't wait to hear more!

Anonymous said...

Your words bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for being there and for sacrificing so much to live the life.
I love your blog and I pray for your safety, your work and your family everyday.

Kimi Finley said...

I'm really glad you posted this- very interesting to read.
i miss you and loved seeing Bree visit you all!!