Economic Empowerment

The livelihood of the Quechua people in the highlands begins and ends with their alpacas.

The cycle of poverty cannot be broken without some tools. This is where our second pillar steps into light. Our main focus for these programs hope to create opportunities for women, single mothers and highland families.

In 2016, Quechua Benefit conducted a tour of 10 Andean communities to hear the most pressing concerns in some of the poorest communities in the world.

Our team crowded into the mayor’s office, a 15′ x 20’ room that doubled as a community center in the town of Aymaña, located 13,000 feet above sea level and hundreds of miles from the nearest city. The team sat in white plastic chairs along the far wall and across from local men who had come out of curiosity. Women from the community then filed in and sat on the cold, gray floor in the back of the room, their wide, vividly colored skirts billowing around them. Children darted in and out. In a show of respect for cultural norms, the female members of our team joined the women on the floor.

Dr. Jose Mosquera was there to lead a focus group to identify the most pressing issues for the community.

“What is the most important health issue you face?” he asked. One of the men immediately responded, “The health of our alpacas.”

The team, taken by surprise, asked, “But what about your children’s health?”

A young woman cradling her baby, wrapped in a crimson blanket, with two small children at her feet whispered, “If the alpaca die, our children will not eat.”

The average highland family of four owns a small herd of 150 alpacas. From these animals, they make 85% of their annual income, which equates to about $100/month.

Our goal is to help our indigenous ranchers increase their alpaca related income by 25% over the next 5 years. With your help, we can create an efficient and sustainable program that is replicable across communities.

  1. To assist with livestock husbandry initiatives that are both affordable and sustainable by establishing a strategic partnership with an Andean veterinarian school to educate and train community leaders.
  2. To establish a strategic partnership with an Andean veterinarian school to educate and train community leaders in basic animal husbandry practices and vaccination protocols. Assist with vaccination/treatment of sarcoptic mange and enterotoxaemia in the herd.
  3. Develop community specific projects that aid in land preservation to increase pasture size for both alpacas and vicuñas. Learn more here.
  4. Provide job training for women and artisans via our community centers in Ichupampa and Yanque.
  5. Increase the value of all camelid fiber – provide job skill training/workshops to increase the economic return on current goods via skills training, marketing, etc.

Will you join us to empower our families to break the cycle of poverty?