We are currently developing this program, however our first concrete collaboration is with a women's group in the Intag zone.
They are an organized group with 5 years of experience and having started their initiative focussing on cut and sew embroidered T-shirts, they have been forced into a more diverse product range due to extensive competition from industrialised companies in the Ibarra region.
The group now produces a range of products:
Sewing machined products: track suits, T-shirts, bed linen and any other clothing asked of them
Hand woven baskets; made from a local vine (a commonly used product in the area for harvesting tomate de arbol and yucca amongst other regional crops)
Necklaces; currently using bought in materials, though seeds from the area are being sought after for further diversification
Hand bags and other cloth based products
Embroidered items eg handkerchiefs and T-shirts
They are currently working Monday to Friday, for around 6 hours a day. Each group member has a specific skill base on which to focus; that's to say, not all the ladies are able to embroider.
Volunteers that participate in this program will live with a member of the group and help her and the group out in their daily activities. Time will be spent in farming (as per our ), looking after children, working in the group and participating in group and community activities. There is also the option to work in the local school on a daily basis in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free for women's group work. Please see our for details.
Although many volunteers will not have the skills to produce the items manufactured by this group, the group is very willing to teach the required skills, and is very welcoming for outsider input on design aspects, business organization, product development, promotion and the like. There are many smaller, unskilled jobs that need doing that volunteers could also help with.
In addition volunteers with experience and knowledge regarding gender, nutrition, family health and related topics are most welcome, though we will remind you that Spanish language would be needed at a proficient level to communicate ideas and concepts effectively. In such cases we would suggest a series of informal talks before during or after the daily activities of the group, so that questions can be raised and answered during the volunteers' stay.
Regarding language, like all our programs, we ask volunteers to have basic communication, though being around and talking with these women on a daily will soon help improve your Spanish! We can also also include as part of an induction week at the hacienda.