Meet Augustina she is from Moquegua, a city in Southern Peru. Augustina is a member of Aptec, which is one of our artisan partners in Peru. Augustina along with other women in Aptec have formed a lifelong sisterhood through their mutually related struggles. They uplift each other as they work towards their dreams in life. Augustina’s life took a radical turn when her husband got sick three years ago. It was truly a terrifying time, her husband went deaf and developed a skin disease, therefore, he was unable to work. In Peru, the government created a public insurance program, but to make an appointment one has to pay. They provide very basic service and run out of medicine quickly, so the patient typically purchases medicine. However, Augustina can’t even afford to take her husband to the hospital to assess his condition. According to the physician, he may qualify for a hearing aid that could cost between $1,000 and $9,000 depending on his condition. With the help of a hearing aid, Augustina’s husband may be able to hear again. But this opportunity is an unattainable dream for her family because they can’t afford it. She said when her husband developed his illness she was in a very bad place and it was the worst time of her life because she didn’t have money.
Nonetheless, she was persistent and searched for sources of income. That is when she came across Aptec, where women come together from all walks of life to practice the traditional art of hand knitting. Employing a diverse group of single mothers, married women, grandmothers, and widows, Aptec Peru
is located near the artisan’s homes and a safe space for women to express their creativity. By combining creativity, sisterhood and their inner talents with the tools to achieve self-sustainability, the organization supports and promotes women like Augustina in their respective trades. In Augustina’s words: “I feel happy and very thankful that I’ve found work, now I can help home, smile, and live.” She has five children and our staff had a chance to talk to her son and daughter. Neither Augustina nor her husband were educated, so they made sure to educate all their children until high school, which meant working tirelessly toward a better future. Augustina enjoys knitting and spending time with her friends. Serving as the sole provider in her home, Augustina has come a long way towards achieving happiness amidst her challenges.
Along with working with the other women at Aptec, she goes to the streets to sell breakfast at 4:00 am to support her children’s education. She has sacrificed a lot to take their youngest son (Johnny), out of a rural school and transfer him to a city school in hopes for a better life for her children. Johnny’s dream is to become an architect and his favorite subjects are art, painting, drawing, and doing ceramics. The absence of quality schools in rural areas drives many towards the city to attain a quality education. Weaving has really changed her life for the better because she is able to have a direct involvement in the design process and chip in ideas--this makes her feel useful. Making clothing and toys diversifies their production and creates steady work while adding value to her work because her creations are making kids everywhere happy.
On National Tell A Story Day! We encourage you all to share the resilient stories of women like Augustina, who are the living embodiment of strength, service, sacrifice, and inspiring women in your life. Help make Augustina’s hopes and aspirations in life a reality and support our artisan
women around the world!