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Minkha Sweaters - Save the Children Canada Program

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Minkha Sweaters is a Bolivian Knitting Cooperative run under the guidance of Save the Children Canada. With help from dedicated volunteers, the knitters have been able to provide their families with a home and an education for their kids.

The MINKHA knitting micro-industry is a Save the Children Canada success story. This project is an outstanding example of how a program initially subsidized by Save The Children Canada has grown into a successful business that is owned and run entirely by indigenous Bolivian women.

Since the early 1990's, a small group of Quechua and Aymara women were organized by Save the Children - Bolivia into a co-operative knitting group. These women hand knit beautiful alpaca sweaters that are sold in North America. All profits are returned to the Bolivian women throught the efforts of Canadian volunteers.

These women were desperate to earn a living to support and care for their extended families. It is customary to have an extended family that may include parents, grandparents and other relatives, as well as children. In many cases a woman is the sole income earner for her family.

In addition to the financial rewards of the program, the women also enjoy a very positive social experience. They thrive on the customer feedback they receive for the superior quality of their knitting. The quality of life for these women and their families has improved significantly because of MINKHA. The number of share-holding knitters has tripled: now Artesanias Minkha essentially sustains 45 families. In 2004, the Cochabamba Chamber of Commerce honoured Artesanias Minkha with a plaque celebrating 15 years of business success... this is surely a first for native women.

In the early 1990's, a group of Canadian volunteers began marketing the MINKHA sweaters. The Calgary volunteers co-ordinate sweater sales, compile and send the orders, keep accounts and transfer funds to MINKHA through Save the Children Canada. Volunteers distribute the sweaters to customers approximately three months later. The volunteers replace the traditional middleman between the producer and the buyer. They receive a double reward for their efforts; grateful Bolivian women and delighted North American customers.

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Category: Listings Non-Profit
Date: 8/17/2010 2:32:39 PM
Expiry Date: 1/1/2019

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