Yuraq Allpa

Marco Antonio, Emiliano, Veronica, Anita, Carlos, Victoria, Yolanda's daughter, and Yolanda in the workshop.
Marco Antonio, Emiliano, Veronica, Anita, Carlos, Victoria, Yolanda’s daughter, and Yolanda in the workshop.

From: Ate Vitarte, Lima

Group Members: Anita Contreras Navarro, Emiliano Nolasco Palomino, Carlos Huaman Villacrisis, Victoria Contreras Navarro, Yolanda Contreras Navarro

Yuraq Allpa, an artisan group established in 2008, depends on making ceramics to support their families. They live in the dusty fringes of Lima in Ate Vitarte, without paved streets or running water. There are eight official members of the group, four men and four women, but when they have a big order their families always chip in and help as well.

The name Yuraq Allpa means “White Dirt” in Quechua. The members of the group grew up in Ayacucho and came to Lima during the years of terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s. They still speak Quechua among themselves and are proud of their heritage. In Ayacucho there is a lot of clay in the soil that makes the ground white. In order to remember their home, they named their group Yuraq Allpa.

They have always dedicated themselves to this work and being a part of Bridge of Hope has provided more opportunities to work. They also have orders from time to time for companies in Peru, but the price they receive from those orders is not enough. Anita Contreras says, “The situation is very critical. The product the we can sell in Peru does not supply us with enough.” Fair Trade has opened their eyes to a whole new world of fair wages and sustainable business.

This group has become a family. Working alone it is very hard to sell handcrafts, but working together they have been able to get more work and share like a family. For Anita, being a part of this group has been a personal success as well. Before she was very timid, but now she feels comfortable expressing herself in front of anyone. She has also always had the dream of being an entrepreneur and has gotten the chance to realize that dream through Yuraq Allpa.