Tupaq Yupanqui

From: Tacsana, Yauli, Huancavelica

Almost the entire group of Tupaq Yupanqui in their open air workshop.
Almost the entire group of Tupaq Yupanqui in their open air workshop.

Group Members: Concepciona, Claudia, Juanita, Ezequiel, Niry Luz, Lucy, Suna, Claudia, Emilia, Dina

The artisan group Tupaq Yupanqui formed in 2007 with the support of the Joining Hands Network. The members of Tupaq Yupanqui already were working the Joining Hands Network on a more individual level, as a group of hard-working men and women looking for new opportunities for their families. They began to think about the possibility of using the art that they already hold in their hands.

Currently the group has 10 members – all women and one man, Ezequiel, who is the president. When there are big orders, they look for the help of other women knitters and families who know the art of weaving. In this way they can offer work and opportunity to many of their neighbors.

Within the group, they primarily speak Quechua and a few older members are not confident to hold a conversation in Spanish. In addition to speaking their mother tongue, the group helps them honor their cultural heritage.

Tupaq Yupanqui is the name of the Incan that formed the Incan Empire. They took the name of this great fighting leader for their group to really make what this name stands for their own. They are fighters. Living in the one of the high communities of Yauli, it is difficult to even arrive at their house and workshop in a car. They live a rural life, growing crops and ranch cows on a small scale without leaving behind their traditional artisan work as weavers.

Although life is hard in the high regions of the Peruvian Andes, it has not stopped them from fulfilling their dreams of giving better living conditions to their families.