This is Only the Beginning
Behind exciting new products, updated colors and patterns, and exciting photos of products in the wild, there is a lady with a dream she is trying to achieve. Whether it's a beanie, tee, or bag, no item is complete without the signature of the woman who made it, and it's our priority to connect you with the person who made your product and share her story with you. Every lady in our program is on a path towards empowerment. As soon as she joins our program, she embarks on this path; a path that ends (and begins!) with graduation.
Graduation represents a completed journey towards self-reliance, and a new beginning for every graduate. By the time a lady graduates, she is effectively breaking the cycle of poverty through the income she earns creating the products you love, skills attained through specialized education and training, and guidance from her mentor. Beyond these tangible achievements, she is pursuing her dreams.
We recently recognized and celebrated 13 graduates at Krochet Kids Peru. A room full of staff, family, and current beneficiaries shared their support for these women embarking on a new path beyond our empowerment project. The mentors that have invested in each of these women over the past 3-5 years spoke on each individual's progress, reflecting on the amazing strides they have made since they first walked through our doors. Our Country Director Patricia led the ceremony, saying, “As mentors we guide the beneficiaries through many aspects of their lives and prepare them for what's after graduation. The whole process is such a rough ride. We face difficult situations and often it seems like it's more than we can handle. But our compromise is to equip them the best we can, even if that means making sacrifices. In this road the time goes fast but the days are very long. Getting involved in someone's life this way is difficult but if you ask me, it's all worth it. When graduation day comes, these ladies have made important changes in their lives. They choose to be better everyday and accomplish things they didn't think they were able to. This is huge, and it was only possible with other people's willingness to get involved. We are such complex beings, we need all the help we can get.”
Each graduate had a turn at the microphone, sharing their own perspectives and stories. When it came to progress, the common thread that connected each speech was confidence. The graduates recognized a change within them that was beyond income and education, there was a positive transformation regarding their sense of self that allowed them to achieve true empowerment. While we are sad to say goodbye, we are confident that we are sending empowered leaders into the community where we work. Two graduates Eva and Carmen have been hired on as group leaders at Krochet Kids Peru where they will train current and future beneficiaries in our Cut & Sew Division. Several other ladies have started their own knitting cooperative where they create products to sell in local markets, while another graduate named Carmen works as a caretaker.
The road to social impact is not always easy, but with every graduation ceremony we are reminded of the effectiveness and power of the work we do every day. We take pride in this progress, and we hope that you do, too. You have the power to do good with every purchase you make, and we thank you for investing in the futures of the women we work with.