Promoting Women Entrepreneurs in Peru

In the south of Peru is a district called Sibayo. Surrounded by mountains, canopied by a great open sky, and blessed with fresh air, Sibayo is home to Sumac Pallay, an association of artisans who are carrying on the traditional craft of weaving.

Using the luxuriously soft wool of alpacas, artisans in Sibayo create shawls, scarves, mittens, and other items of clothing. Residents keep warm with alpaca clothes themselves, especially in the bracing evening air in the mountains and valleys.

Peru alpaca artisans

“I started weaving and embroidery at age 15, when I saw my mom doing it,” says Adelaida Picha Puma. When I was in secondary school, I was already making socks and scarves.” But she had to leave school for economic reasons, and took up weaving and embroidery full time. Now a member of Sumac Pallay, she says her craft has improved and she has doubled her income from weaving in just one year. The change has been personal as well as professional. “This work has helped me overcome the fear of expressing myself in public and to tell all women that we can be leaders and achieve our goals as women and mothers.”

Now, Adelaida and the other artisans of Sumac Pallay are sharing their traditions with the world. From rural Peru to your home, the matchless feel of alpaca.