The Story of the Craft Program
When we visited Father Pedro in Morrope for the first time in 1999 we were overwhelmed with the extraordinary need for help that encompassed all of the people. We were not sure where to begin. We met with Father Pedro and consulted with the indigenous people in order to find our way. In consultation with the people and Father Pedro we decided to establish two micro-economic programs. We considered many things. One was the formation of a soup kitchen to help with the nutrition of the children in the village. Father Pedro believed that yes, the people needed help, however, they had the ability to work and help themselves and develop their own enterprises if we would provide the seed money to get them started. Work and self-sustainability was his idea. He believed that if we would create micro-economic opportunities the needs of the hungry children would be met and the benefits of employment would grow exponentially. With all of this in mind we returned home and began to raise the funds.
When we returned with the funds the following year Father Pedro had decided on the two cooperative projects that we have funded. The two projects are led by Isolina (textiles) and Jose (ceramics). Both projects have been successful, however they are held back by a lack of a local market. They have reconsidered their product lines and have become more pragmatic in their products with the hope of expanding their markets. The ladies continue to produce the highly decorated textiles in combination with more practical items. Jose has moved away from the decorative objects he was producing and also has taken a more practical and marketable product approach. He is producing flower pots and roof tiles.
Accordingly, both projects are now self-sufficient and we continue to focus on our primary objective which is the Pre-University school.