Thursday, September 22, 2011

krochet kids peru questions

There were a handful of questions specifically about Krochet Kids Peru so I am going to try and answer all of those in this post (with a lot of help from Blake).

-How did you get involved with Krochet Kids and what are your and your husband's specific roles?

Many years ago when Blake was an area director for Young Life, the guys that started Krochet Kids were volunteer leaders for him.  Those relationships continued after Blake left Young Life staff and a few years ago, the KKi guys asked Blake to be on their Board of Advisers.  The more Blake got involved with KKi, the more he grew to love the organization's work.  When he learned that they would be expanding their program one day to another country, Blake told the guys to keep him in mind for the job.  We are thankful that they decided we were the right people to start KKi in Peru!

Blake's title is Director for Peru.  Basically, he is in charge of all things KKPeru.  These days he spends most of his time at the program with the ladies.  He is also in charge of everything logistically that happens in Peru.  One important aspect of his job is legally setting us up as an NGO in Peru and making sure we follow all laws here.  His recent jobs have been hiring, buying sewing machines, ordering yarn, getting the location set up and ready for use, having sample hats made, and helping train the ladies.  It is not unusual for him to spend a day running around to five different places to get all of his responsibilities done.  The guys at headquarters, though, decide on hat styles and colorways and take care of all marketing, retail, and distribution for KKP.  I am technically not on KKi staff, but obviously this program is just as important to me as it is to Blake and I am determined to be as involved as I can while also being home with the kids.  

{First yarn order.}

-What do interns with Krochet Kids do?  Will you eventually have intern positions in Peru?

Here's the official intern description from the website:

"Our internship opportunities offer amazing hands-on experience in roles ranging from social media and photography to inventory management and fund raising, and everything in between.  Interns get a behind-the-scenes look at nonprofit/social enterprise work on every level, and are crucial to what we do.  We love our interns!"

Some of the titles of internship positions in CA are Graphic Arts (Web and Print), PR/Social Media/Communications, Events, Retail Support/Visual Merchandising, and Inventory and Customer Care.  Right now internships are available at our headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA and at our program in Uganda.  You can learn more or apply online here.

We didn't plan on having interns in Peru for awhile, but with the amount of exposure that Krochet Kids has been receiving recently (and subsequent hat sales), we are in the process of hiring interns right now.  Interns in Peru will do a lot of the behind the scenes stuff like inventory, quality control, yarn orders, and administrative tasks.  Interns will work very closely with Blake.  I will definitely post on here when we are ready for future intern applications.

{The ladies learning the hand machine.}

-Do you ever see a need in the future for other individuals/families from the US coming over for a few weeks or months to help you in the mission field?

Aside from internships, we do not see a great need for people from the US to come help.  That doesn't mean that we don't want people to come visit- we absolutely do!  We just don't have any missional roles that we need to fill.  I have mentioned this before, but Tara's post on short-term mission trips is a great place for those wanting to learn more about the effectiveness of such trips.  The bottom line for KKPeru is that we are here to empower both the women in our program and Peruvians in general.  We never want to do for them what they can do for themselves.  It is important for these women to learn the power of community and coming together to help each other.  If in the future, for instance, one of the women needed a new home to be built we would approach it in a way that allows the community to help with this need, not people from the US.  People from the US will come and go, but their community will always be there.  To teach them responsibility for each other (instead of relying on those on the US) is a powerful tool.  If, for some reason, there was an aspect of home building that needed to be done by a professional, we would hire a Peruvian.  Our desire is to exhaust all options of employing Peruvians before we move on to using people from the US.  I know this is a difficult subject to discuss and I can't address it well in a paragraph or even a post.  When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert is definitely the most comprehensive piece I have seen on this subject.  I believe every person that truly wants to help alleviate poverty needs to read this book.  

As I mentioned before, traveling to Mexico and Guatemala are important parts of our family's story.  So, we are not against families traveling to foreign countries.  I think we should just be honest that these trips are more for those going than those in the visiting country.  If anyone wants to come visit Peru we would welcome it.  We love showing our family and friends what we are doing here and now we can actually introduce people to our ladies!  

{View out of one of KKP's windows.}

-Why did KKi decide on Peru?

KKi choose Peru for two reasons: the poverty demographic and the yarn possibilities.  Our program best benefits those living in poverty that have opportunity available, but are lacking resources to pursue these opportunities.  Peru is a developing country with many opportunities, as well as many living in poverty that simply need to be empowered.  Also, the textile industry is a rich part of the culture here in Peru.  This enables KKi to purchase exclusive yarns in-country, unlike Uganda where it has to be imported.  Blake and the guys actually have big dreams of one day having our own alpaca farm and making our own yarn.  We'll see what happens!

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