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Ruraq Maki is dedicated to creating educational and economic opportunities that will empower low-income artisan communities. We accomplish this through the purchase and sale of traditional crafts made within these communities and by providing free educational workshops.
Currently, Ruraq Maki operates two programs in South America. The Yanamilla Prison Project, serving 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 which covers the fundamentals of jewelry design and basic and intermediate wire working techniques. In 2012 we will introduce a week-long leather working class to the women 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.