Q'ewar, a social project
We spent one month in a small town east of Cusco volunteering with a social project, a small doll-making factory which provides jobs to the local women. It was founded on the premise that if you support a woman, you support a whole family. Q'ewar operates for profit, which we liked. Conventional NGO projects commonly have trouble profiting after donor funds run out. In our month there, we discovered a community that supports and builds confidence for women who have anything but easy, stable home lives.
Julio, the owner of Q'ewar, taught the first five women his doll-making craft over 10 years ago, based on the Waldorf philosophy. During our time there, we learned from some of the 50 women in their small talleres (studios). In return, we gave classes on cooking, nutrition and agriculture in our "working" Spanish. Sometimes the best support we could give was to share a story and commiserate about stiff hands after painstakingly stuffing dolls with lana (sheep's wool). We slowly made friends. With those friends, we took portraits. It was a rick patchwork of experience 10,000 feet up in the Andes.