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Micro-entrepreneurship training for women artisans
$820 raised
82% of $1k goal
16 contributors
0 days left
Ended Nov 4, 2014

Those who know me will know that I've had the privilege of working, for over five years, with Mapuche indigenous communities in Chile. Our projects focus on youth capacity building but in conversation with some of the women from these communities, it has become clear that other needs require attention, too.

These women weave using traditional methods, an ancient art that has been passed down from mother to daughter. They make beautiful products - shawls, purses, blankets - mainly for themselves, friends and family members. The women told to me that they would like to dedicate themselves to weaving and use their skills to bring much-needed income to their families. But none of them have the basic business training that they need to market their products, find clients, set fair prices, or adapt products to consumer needs.

I decided that I would help them. Here's how.

WHAT: A five-day intensive social entrepreneurship course and a year of follow-up coaching for twenty women weavers from rural Mapuche communities.

HOW: I've teamed up with Artistri Sud, a wonderful non-profit based in Montréal. Artistri Sud specializes in training and coaching women artisans in the developing world to be social entrepreneurs, empowering them to fight against poverty, increase their autonomy, and build better lives for themselves. Artistri Sud's mandate is based on the belief that women's economic empowerment is an essential step toward social and political empowerment. Last year, the organization trained 21 indigenous weavers in Bolivia, and they have since increased their sales by almost 60% - that's huge! Many reported increased self-confidence and were empowered to take on leadership roles in their community. Check out the video at the top of the page!

WHY: Rampant inequality between rich and poor in Chile is hidden amidst talk of the country's overall economic success. Inequality is even more pronounced for the country's indigenous peoples: La Araucanía, the region with the largest Mapuche population, is also the region with the highest rates of poverty and illiteracy. Mapuche women from rural communities often rely on state assistance to see to their family's needs. They have few options for improving their economic conditions other than travelling to nearby towns and cities to work as nannies or in other unskilled, low-paying jobs. This economic migration breaks up families and has accelerated the loss of the Mapuche culture and language.

Handicraft production is a sustainable economic activity that values women's work and preserves indigenous culture. In this video, five of the Mapuche weavers share why this art is so important for Mapuche women.

THE CHALLENGE: As proof of my dedication (and fitness!), I will be running in the Classique du Parc La Fontaine race alongside a group of motivated Artistri Sud volunteers who have each created their own crowdfunding campaign. The funds that we raise go directly to Artistri Sud and will be pooled to support the organization and help bring the micro-entrepreneurship training program to the Mapuche women.

On October 19th, I'll be running the 5K race in Parc La Fontaine. I've set my fundraising goal at $500, or $100 for every kilometer that I will race. This is my first crowdfunding experience, and if it goes well, I'll be increasing my fundraising goal. So don't be shy! Your donation, of whatever amount, will help us reach our goal of getting the project started in early 2015. 

Here are some concrete ways that you can help:

  •  $10 buys training materials for one woman
  •  $100 buys a year of support coaching for an artisan
  •  $250 enables one woman to participate in the full training workshop  

Thank you, or as the Mapuche say, Chaltumay!

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$20 CAD
Personalized letter of thanks
$50 CAD
A personalized letter with a picture of an artisan
We are giving you a personalized letter with a picture of one of the women we have helped in Bolivia
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$100 CAD
Handcraft made by a women artisan
You will receiving a letter with the name of women as well as a note about her
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$100 CAD
Bolivian hand-made scarf is one of principal products helping women entrepreneur to sustain their families. By contributing to this item, you are demostrating how valuable is their job.
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