Thank you so much for all your incredible support in 2020, without you we quite literally couldn’t serve all the many people that we do! You make all these stories of transformation possible…
Highlights from an extraordinary year…UK: We were overjoyed to be given a premises in Harrogate town centre of at the beginning of the year, generously provided by the Harrogate Hub network of local churches and an incredibly kind anonymous donor. Susie spent the many months of lockdown transforming the building with a group of awesome volunteers, creating a shop, craft studio, office and packing area for shipping orders. We opened the shop a few weeks ago and it’s going SO WELL! It’s wonderful to see customers’ reactions to the beautiful crafts being made by our artisans in Ecuador & Peru. Income from the shop has helped us to keep supporting them, right through the lockdown and beyond. Meanwhile, despite not being able to run our usual in-person workshops this year, Liz and the UK team have been doing an incredible job running them remotely. We’ve sent crafts packs to over 90 adults and children with disabilities every month, with 4 weekly activities each time, plus crafts videos, weekly tutorials, Zoom calls and phone calls. We’ve seen our participant numbers more than triple and are really looking forward to welcoming people to join us in person again when safe to do so.
Peru: Just days before the virus hit Peru we were able to finally purchase a beautiful old building in Arequipa, Peru, which will become our new crafts training centre, café and shop, providing training and employment opportunities for many differently-able people who’d otherwise be living in extreme poverty. It’s taken a few years to raise the funds and complete the legal processes for this, so we’re over the moon to have finally completed this foundational step. Huge thanks to everyone who’s made this possible! Having received the keys, frustratingly the building remained locked up for many months whilst the whole country went into severe lockdown. Like everyone in Peru, our volunteer Laura Baxendale was barely able to leave the house for weeks at a time, so it was a very challenging time. Thankfully, she and all our participants have escaped unscathed and are enjoying a lifting of restrictions on movement this month. Peruvian cushions and jewellery from our artisans in Arequipa will be arriving in the UK next week, which is really exciting! Renovation work on our building there will start to take place in the New Year.
Ecuador: Our volunteers Andy & Jess Lynch did a superb job running the project for the 12 months that they served with us in Ecuador. They managed to fly home just days before flights out of the country were stopped. They handed over to local Ecuadorian couple Carlos and Jessica, who have been holding the fort ever since, visiting our artisans in lockdown every month and delivering the support payments we’ve been sending them whilst they’ve been unable to work, due to the Covid restrictions. They’re very much looking forward to opening up the workshop again in the new year, now that the worst has passed. We now have 21 artisans there, keen to start making paper and jewellery again as soon as possible. It’s so good to be able to support them with sales of their work here, since so many of the boutiques we originally sold to in Ecuador have sadly been shut down by the virus. We look forward to adding screen printing and sewn-textiles techniques to the range of skills our artisans will have, through new training programmes planned for next year. We’re delighted that former Ecuador volunteer Lydia Trezise (who volunteered years previously with Susie in Tanzania as well), has now joined our UK team as Volunteer Coordinator, overseeing all our UK volunteers and working closely to support Carlos and Jessica in Ecuador as well.
You can see all the beautiful work being produced at our new shop in Harrogate, at 39 Oxford Street (HG1 1PW) or online at www.artizaninternational.com
Due to Covid, in 2020 our individual donations unprecedentedly went down by more than 40%, so this month we launched our Artizan Angels regular giving scheme, to help encourage more folks to give a little each month, as this helps us support so many more people and really does add up over the year. A little bit of help goes a long way, especially in Latin America. If you’re a regular giver already (thank you so much!) you’ll be being sent a 10% discount code which you can use all year , either online or in our shop in person. Even if you’re not, here’s a one-off code which you can use for your next order, or feel free to share it with a friend and pass on the word about what we do. Code : CHRISTMAS-10
To find out more about Artizan Angels, click here:
Become an Artizan Angel
Keep an eye on the website too for all the amazing things which will be unfolding the in course of next year, including our new Artizan Café, opening in Harrogate we hope in the spring.
We wish you and yours a bright New Year to come,
From all the team at Artizan