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The Quechua people asked time after time: Can you buy our fiber or our handicrafts? For years, our answer was no.

Today we have an answer: Handspun hand-knitting yarn.

In 2014, Quechua Benefit began working with highland communities, encouraging them to focus on making yarn instead of handicrafts. Alliyma was born.

The sole purpose of Alliyma is to create a lucrative, non-subsidized market for the Quechua people to sell their products. All profits made by Alliyma will be reinvested in community programs.

Alliyma believes jobs Break the Cycle of Poverty. The women who have been trained to create high quality, handspun hand-knitting yarn for Alliyma will have steady, year-round work at a fair, living wage. Consider that in the Peruvian highlands:

• Women who work at low-level jobs in agriculture or in small stores earn 15 soles, or a little less than $5 a day

• A professional woman who works for the local government makes 25 soles, or $7.81 a day

• A professional woman who works for the regional government makes 35 soles, or $10.93 a day

• A woman who spins one kilo of yarn per day for Alliyma will make 45 soles, or $14.06 a day

The Nunoa Women’s Fiber Co-Op was formed to create handspun yarn and handmade garments. The co-op has entered into an agreement to sell handspun yarn to Quechua Benefit for export to the USA.

The simple fact is that alpacas lie at the core of the economy in the highlands of Peru. An average family of four owns a small herd of about 150 alpacas. From these animals, they make 85% of all their annual income, which amounts to about $100 per month.

Increasing the price of a producer’s fleece is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty in Peru. Alpaca fiber in the highlands is currently sold at one universal price per pound, without regard for quality. Breeders deserve better markets for their fiber.

In partnership with a local mill, women from the highland communities can take sorting and classification classes in Arequipa. Over three years women in 30 communities will be trained to sort, classify and grade fiber. Sorted and graded alpaca fiber is worth an average 25% more than its ungraded counterpart. This will enable breeders to earn more profit from their herds and empower women to begin a new cycle of prosperity as they continually train new women in the highlands.

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