In 2012, the UUCS Microfinance Committee decided to focus on Peru. Our partner community is Chillin, a poor village located about 13,000 feet in the harsh altiplano of southern Peru. The main economic activities are agriculture, animal husbandry, cheese production, knitted woolen clothing, and ceramics. Cows and alpaca are particularly important for family livelihoods. In addition, a group of women knit and crochet blankets and clothing for their families and for sale.
For the past three years, our congregational contributions combined with fund-raising dinners featuring Peruvian foods and sale of items provided funding for the project. The Chijnaya Foundation used the initial capital for small loans to ten families so they could build calf shelters. These small four-sided buildings protect calves for their critical first 3-4 months.
In September 2014, four members of the Microfinance Committee, Carol Doolittle, Ann Hanus, Robin LaMonte, and Julia Brown traveled to Peru to meet with the Chijnaya Foundation and villagers benefiting from our project. We viewed the water troughs and shelters built for their cattle and spoke directly with the villagers. We learned that our projects resulted in a 25% boost to the incomes of the farmers through increased milk production. The loans were rapidly paid off within two years. Most of all, we forged a strong and meaningful direct connection with the villagers by making a significant difference in the quality of their lives.
By working in partnership with the Chijnaya Foundation, their efforts have complemented our project by providing:
- Irrigation projects to increase crop yields
- Better stoves for improved air quality within homes
- Dental and medical care
- Books to elementary schools and
- Scholarships for advanced education.
We anticipate more secure livelihoods for Chillin families as a result of the combination of these efforts.
A Success Story From Peru
- Sra. Gladis Paca Peri’s Success StorySra. Gladis Pacca Peri is a recipient of one of the microfinance loans. She is in her late 40’s and has three sons. Her husband, Dionisio, is a mason who often works out of town, so Gladis often assumes responsibility for raising both their children and their cattle. She has ...