- Patricia & Alejandra Benavides Mother & Daughter, Co-Founders of Sumaqkay
In 1985, Peru was afflicted by social, economic and political chaos. Terrorist groups threatened the most vulnerable communities in the high Andes, and this forced men and women to run away from their homes.
Most of the people who lived in the highlands made a living from farming and weaving. Running away from terror and fighting for a better future, they migrated to the coast to work as farmers - starting a new life in an unknown place was sweet and sour. Even though the future seemed brighter in the coast, weaving, which was part of their identity and pride, was lost behind.
Sumaqkay first started as a social project to help bring back weaving into the lives of those who had left this art behind. We started organizing workshops for anyone who was interested in weaving. We borrowed one small loom and provided with enough threads, so that after their long day of working in the farms, they could go to the workshop and reconnect to their roots.
When we realized the incredible talent of these weavers, we decided to found Sumaqkay, and give artisans the opportunity to do what they love the most. We decided not only to provide this artisans with better living conditions, but also to empower them by helping improve the quality and designs of the textiles.