BACKGROUND

Quelucas is a peaceful mountain hamlet nestled in the lush hills of the Amazonas region, two hours from the nearest town. Each day awakes to early activity as people move their cattle and horses to and from Incan terraces of wheat and sugarcane as they maintain century old agricultural practices. The adobe houses lay scattered under the morning shadows of high ridges to the East and mist falls from the surrounding mountains, veiling its crests from view. These communities are the modern ripples of an ancient kingdom and flickers of the past can be seen in the many archeological ruins which dot the surrounding countryside and traditions that punctuate daily life here.

This community of just over 200 is the smallest village in the district and it is a little different from surrounding communities in that its young children are being encouraged to conserve traditional practices. to weave. An initiative in the local primary school means that up until eleven years of age weaving and wool dyeing have been incorporated into the curriculum. Mothers teach craft practices that are dying out in many regions of Peru and Latina America. The final products of this labor bring in a little income so that the primary school can function better but there are many limitations in both terms of support and development that create a cycle of poverty.

THE PROBLEM

 

 

he vast majority of family income for the population comes from their agricultural activities and this fragile economy registers high indices of poverty. A direct consequence is that young men migrate looking elsewhere for work and opportunity, resulting in an unusually high number of single mothers left to care and maintain for their children and land. Domestic violence, subjugation, and teenage pregnancy are all too common and rarely addressed.

 

Once leaving primary school children who have to attend secondary school need to take a long walk up and down a steep mountain path. Few families have access to computers or the means to buy basic academic materials which means that the young students are often required to stay at their school during the day and long after classes finish, often without having eaten anything since the morning.

 

Upon arriving home the young students are burdened with adult responsibilities, having to care for their younger siblings and help with domestic and agricultural chores, meaning that study is sacrificed. Having to rise so early means that the children are deprived of sufficient sleep which, when combined with poor nutrition, results in stunted growth and health problems resulting from a weak immune system. An almost negligible number of children make it onto higher education and a cycle of poverty is created.

 

OUR INOLVEMENT

We identified the Quelucas community and environment as being an excellent location for a  Slow Villages Project. The cultural and social benefits of such projects are broad and would provide a platform for economic diversification and future academic possibilities for the population.

We found an opportunity to convert a large, abandoned building into a functioning educational centre, giving a platform for cultural revaluation, community based tourism, economic projects based on local produce, a volunteer programme, leadership capacity training for women and vitally needed materials to help youth with their education.

We will renovate the community building into a family center where women can learn about social advances and find a safe space to share their problems

The space would also be a point of reception for visitors to the Slow Villages Project, allowing for workshops and tours and also exist as an information point and cultural centre with a plan to convert traditional activities into experiential tourism services and workshops. The young members of the group will help us to decorate and rebuild it into an educational centre.

We will create an experiential tourism information centre where we will train the community in cultural revaluation, creating economic opportunity and a space for youth to learn about their traditions from senior members

Our groups contain several female weaving associations who sell their wool products to a regional market place. There is an abundance of woven products in the region and prices are low. There is a need for more diverse, modern products and improved quality in order to be competitive. The community classroom to bring in professional artisans and work on creativity based on traditional techniques and iconography.

We will help to strengthen the quality and creativity of weaving products, giving them relevance and accessibility to a wider market, exploring the reintroduction of working with native cotton

Working with local chefs from the regional university we will help train the community to prepare modern food for visitors based on traditional recipes and using local ingredient. This will also allow for the development of gastronomic abilities and tackle common nutritional deficiencies seen in young and old. Visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in gastronomic workshops in hosts housing and agricultural activities.

We will fortify gastronomic abilities, relearning traditional recipes and improving nutrition whilst developing economic opportunities.

A volunteer programme held in conjunction with the local primary and secondary school, as well as with the community groups will allow for all members of the community to have access to language lessons and collaborate with professionals in agriculture, economic development, education, art & crafts, and health. 

We will renovate the community building into a family center where women can learn about social advances and find a safe space to share their problems

Income gained from services provided by the community space is easier to invest in a shared fund and then distributed back into assets or activities which would be of benefit for the common good. The center will be of benefit beneficial to the entire population.

We will continue to teach teach leadership and community cooperation, helping individuals to fulfil their potential.