The Mirasol Project

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Mother and Child

The Mirasol Project creates beautiful luxurious hand dyed 100% Merino Wool from the Peruvian Highlandsnear lake Titicaca. A portion of every purchase is dedicated directly to funding a school in the remote area of Munani in the region of Puno to educate the children of the shepherds (visit www.mirasolperu.com).

The Mirasol Project is based on Fairtrade. Fairtrade guarantees that disadvantaged producers in the developing world get a better deal for their products. The producers receive a price that covers the cost of sustainable production plus an extra premium that is invested in social or economic development projects such as the Mirasol Project.

The Mirasol Project will do something to redress the balance between rich and poor nations. Peru is a nation of 29 million people with a high level of social inequality, with the poor rural Quechua-speaking communities high in the Andes being particularly disadvantaged. A survey undertaken in 2002 rated Peru last of 41 nations in terms of educational provision and the people of the Puno region, where the ranch is situated, have one of the lowest levels of health and education in Peru. The illiteracy rate is 95 per cent. Families live just at subsistence level in mud huts that lack plumbing and electricity and have only an open fireplace for warmth. As a result of this survey, the Peruvian government has decided to prioritise the development of the rural areas of the sierra on the national agenda.

alpaca

The Mirasol Project is named after a young Quechua girl who, with her brother, tends 350 alpacas.

Its aim is to fight poverty and encourage community development. As well as providing accommodation, meals and health-care, the boarding-house will be a centre where the children can develop personal, occupational and communication skills and study techniques in specialised after-school workshops. The centre will foster the principles of peace, tolerance and equality with a respect for human rights and basic freedom. As well as an awareness of other cultures, the centre will also focus on the preservation of the language, culture and tradition of the children and their families.

The architectural design of the boarding-house makes use of local materials and know-how. In its physical, social and educational aspects, value is placed upon local knowledge However, in addition to preserving local traditions, the centre has a creative and innovating function in preparing its children for a changing and challenging future. The after-school facility will include dormitories for boys and girls, a dining room, sports area and classrooms where children can receive help with their regular school homework as well as participate in qina sweaterstudies aimed at developing different skills and personal goals. Workshops will be developed appropriate to local career opportunities: trout farming, market gardening, the breeding and care of guinea pigs, traditional textile arts and languages.

Currently children have to walk long distances to and from school, sometimes ten miles a day, which results in them giving up school, preferring to work alongside their parents as shepherds. The boarding-house will be able to give the children much-needed educational support as well as focusing on the health of the children. The extensive poverty and social exclusion that still exist in this area do not permit an adequate level of nutrition. Malnutrition and chronic illnesses such as anaemia are a problem with the local children and so the pastoral care offered by the centre is very important, focusing on issues which might affect the development of each child in programmes such as ‘nutrition awareness’.

Do your bit to support this valuable project and help this community thrive, buy their gorgeous Mirasol yarns from us today, and feel good about your contribution to a fairer and more sustainable future!


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