What an action-packed year it’s been, in all 3 countries we are privileged to serve in!
The new centre in Arequipa is coming on beautifully and is now providing a great environment for our differently-able artisans to receive training in screen-printing, jewellery making and sewn textiles.
We took a team of intrepid volunteers to meet our artisans, fit out the new shop and create some large-scale mosaics for the future café spaces. The mosaics they made are as stunning as the view from the rooftop café terrace.
They’re particularly proud of the purpose-built shop counter, made especially for people in wheelchairs to work in the shop & serve customers at the till. The team also helped get the screen-printing workshop ready to receive the new deaf trainees, who have since really benefitted from their work.
Visiting the artisans and their families at home was a particularly moving experience and a wonderful encouragement for those we visited. As Nataly (shown right), a new trainee who lost the use of her legs in a terrible landslide accident that crushed her home just two years ago, explained, she had felt invisible and forgotten by the world since. So, to have our volunteers visit her from the UK was an amazing experience and a huge encouragement. The 8 young people who were part of the group worked particularly hard on the beautiful mosaics, helped the adults with the wood work in the shop and made some stunning new jewellery designs too.
Our artisans loved spending time with them! The next vital step is to equip and furnish the kitchen and café, which will provide training and employment for many young deaf people in Arequipa who are currently excluded from employment due to the stigma of having a disability. Please help us to realise this dream for them, we’d truly appreciate your support. Every bit adds up to make all the difference. Click here to find out how to donate and/or get involved.
Our 21 artisans in Santo Domingo have come on leaps and bounds this year with all the new training they’ve been given in screen printing, sewing and new jewellery designs. There’s been a lot of ground to make up after 2 years of harsh lockdowns there during the pandemic, so two training visits have been needed this year, increasing the skills of our local project leaders there, Carlos and Jessi, as well as the artisans themselves.
The quality of what they’re producing is amazing and we couldn’t be prouder of all they’re achieving, despite so many daily challenges in their lives. The pride and delight they take in their work shines through everything they make. You can meet 4 of our artisans in this new 5-minute film, hot off the press! Here’s the link
We can’t believe what a year we’ve had with our new Harrogate Café & Creative Space! With the help of our volunteers & friends, we’ve turned a totally empty space into a colourful and cosy environment, a thriving place of community engagement where the coffee and cake are as wonderful as the welcome. We have more and more young adults with learning disabilities coming to join us each week for training and work experience in the café, and/or therapeutic craft sessions in our creative space.
For example, Miss D. (shown left) has been training in the Cafe since January. She’s mastered the coffee machine and learnt so many new things, with tailored support and special graphics instructions sheets for her to complete tasks independently. You can just see her look of achievement! Pure joy. The café is the perfect venue for our new Youth club for young adults aged 16-25 with special needs, the “Llama Lounge”, every other Thursday night, with a disco downstairs and chill-out zone on the floor above, all beautifully kitted out with our Ecuadorian fabrics & hand-printed textiles.
Thanks so much for joining us on the journey and making all these things possible.
Love and light,
from everyone at Artizan International x
P.S. This young lady pictured right, one of our volunteers who came to Peru, very generously gave up all her birthday presents this year so that she could raise money for Artizan International instead. She raised an incredible £720 !! We’d like to say a huge thank you to her, and all her friends & family, for being an incredible blessing. M, you are truly an amazing young person!!! Thank you. 😊
A few more pics from our volunteer team visit to Peru, to finish