Minka promotes social and economic development in Peru through support for local hand-crafted projects.
Since 1979, the private non-profit organization, Minka, has helped Peruvian artisans in 106 self-managed groups. Small organisations in need of assistance with their hand-crafted items approach Minka from a diversity of regions and distinct cultures.
Minka has worked in partnership since 1987 with approximately 10,000 craftwork producers from all over Peru, more than 70% of these women having come from backgrounds of struggling with poverty.
The majority of the craft producers seeking business advice and technical assistance as associates of Minka, are groups of women living in marginalized areas.
These women want to sell handcrafts to supplement their meagre family income from farming or other traditional occupations.
Typically, middle merchants go to poorer Peruvian communities and villages offering artisans unfair prices that fail to cover costs – exploitation.
At the same time, many of the artisans are unaware of how to sell to a wider market and attract the fair prices needed to support their families and sustain their self-sufficiency.
Minka assists in promoting producers and pays their craft producers over twice as much per hour than other middle merchants.
Also once a year, Minka distributes net profits among member organisations at a meeting with two representatives from each group.
At the same time proposals for the next year are discussed. At this time, groups describe the use they have made of distributed profits in local projects for community development such as school construction.
Minka is a founding member of two umbrella organisations aimed at promoting fair and alternate trading. The first is Grupo Minka, consisting of 36 Peruvian producer and trader organisations from all over the country and the second is International Federation for Alternate Trade.
Text courtesy of Siham Craftlink Pty Ltd