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Ruraq Maki, which means Hands that Create in Quechua, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to creating economic opportunities for low income female artisans working with traditional crafts. Through fair trade practices and educational workshops, Ruraq Maki creates a bridge between artisans and a global market, creating a world where women and artisans are economically and socially independent.
Currently, Ruraq Maki operates two programs in South America. The Yanamilla Prison Project, serves incarcerated women in the small Andean city of Ayacucho, Peru. The first, and immediate, goal of the project is to help the women generate income while incarcerated by purchasing goods directly from the women at fair trade prices. We work with the women to develop new products using traditional materials and establish a stable market for their goods in the United States.
Ruraq Maki supports the women as artisans by providing free educational workshops aimed at helping them acquire new skills they can use to generate income. Currently we offer a basic and advanced jewelry making class in the prison and in 2012 we introduced week-long leather working intensives taught by a local Peruvian leather worker. All materials and costs are paid for by Ruraq Maki.
Ruraq Maki also operates Manos Independientes, serving rural female Bolivian weavers living in poverty. Like the Yanamilla Prison Project, Manos Independientes provides economic opportunities to these women by designing and purchasing products made from their traditional weavings at fair trade prices. Ruraq Maki also provides free jewelry making workshops to this community of women as well as women in outlying villages.
Ruraq Maki firmly believes in acting as a facilitator for communities rather than imposing Western "solutions" on community needs. We are committed to collective decision making within communities and structure our programs based on solutions generated by the community.
Ruraq Maki is a tax-exempt non-profit under the 501(c)3 guidelines.
- Amanda Smiles
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