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Empower women through art and recycling in Ecuador

Requested by

CENIT- El Centro de La Niña Trabajadora

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

We work in one of the poorest areas in Quito, home to many indigenous people who are outside any governmental social programmes. We offer support, outreach, and technical assistance to women from these communities for whom education is often seen as a waste of time. We help the women through job training, nutrition programmes, health and social services, psychological help and recreation, thus broadening their perspectives in a machismo culture where abuse, rape and sexual assault are common and where women are often abandoned by their husbands and left to fend for themselves.

We want to strengthen the women’s self-esteem, provide women’s leadership training, and enable them to achieve financial independence through income-generating projects. This will help to empower women by tackling poverty at the roots, giving the mothers specialist knowledge to make superior merchandise and assisting them to market their products for a fair wage.

By breaking the cycle of poverty, we hope to promote social innovation, providing resources that will allow the children, especially girls, to go to school and will also provide stronger female role models.

What is your project and how will it help?

This project aims to help mothers from the indigenous community in Quito earn a fair wage by teaching them how to make high-quality goods using recycled materials. The products will include such items as bags, jewellery, clothing and puppets. We will also create a market to enable them to sell their products.

We already have a successful paper recycling project which we hope to improve and enhance to increase circulation. We will begin a second workshop in recyclable material design.

We will provide the women with the means to start their own community businesses through training and support, empowering them emotionally, socially and financially. The year will be divided into 4 three month periods. The first period will be dedicated to teaching the skills necessary to make the products, the second to making the products, the third to teaching marketing and micro-business management, and the fourth to practicing the business skills and reaching out to vendors, and also to finding the recycled materials. We intend to do a second class the following year, and will closely monitor and consult with the first year’s class to help them manage their micro-businesses. By the end of the second year, we hope they will be running their businesses independently.

We expect that the project will be self-funding within two years. Much of the material to be used by the participants will be recycled material which we have already collected.

This project will be undertaken in stages, as funding allows. As we receive help for the project, we will start each stage. We have identified and contacted sources in Quito and abroad willing to sell the products made. A small percentage will go to CENIT and a percentage will be reinvested in the project.

The donated reprocessed materials will provide the women with resources requiring no outlay. We are currently identifying places to put cabinets of fair-trade goods, including products from the women, to provide outlets for them and produce some income for CENIT.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

People can partner with us by helping us with funding.

This project will be undertaken in stages. As we receive help for the project, we can start each stage.

We already run a successful paper recycling project which we hope to improve and enhance to increase circulation.

We also have a fully equipped bakery and teaching staff, but we now need a commercial mixer to start a small bakery. We already sell bread from our premises but with a small mixer and baking trays, we could increase production and sell to the neighbourhood. This has been done successfully in the past. We intend this project to be a sustainable project and therefore money to be set aside to enable the project to continue. We have teaching staff on our payroll who are willing to set the bakery classes up again.

They have hairdressing equipment but lack a teacher. We are utilising the equipment they already have but need to provide a specialist teacher.

We have raised $4,300 and spent $350 on start up costs. We have an estimated spend of $3,530 to get the project started. In 2013 we will need an additional $14,700 to pay salaries for a co-ordinator, design and marketing materials and transport costs. CENIT will provide the bakery and ceramic teachers. They have a printing specialist. CENIT will provide a sales and marketing volunteer to help begin the process of selling products.

Please detail the resources that you need.

Please contact us for details.

Below are a few examples of things needed for the project.

Salary for a hair & beauty specialist teacher, $5,400
Hair and beauty supplies for one year, $1,000
Jewellery supplies, $800
Display cabinets $6,534
Sewing materials $990
Baking supplies, $300

Contact details

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Partnership types

Project funding

Regions / countries / territories

Americas: Ecuador

Global issues

Community development; Education and training; Gender issues