HELP Women was started by the initiative of the municipality of El Tropico and their partnership with OCN. They expressed their concern for more support for young mothers and women in their area and they wanted to develop a project to work with them. OCN developed a project that pinpointed different aspects and issues that would help develop better self-esteem, self-confidence, and teach them new skills.
The project was a three month project that started with the first month teaching one hour of business theory such as marketing, foundations of business, sales, and accounting and one hour of thoughtful discussion and activities involving human rights, women’s rights, successful women, body image, gender roles, and more. During this time, the group bonded and learned.
The second phase of the project involved teaching the women new practical skills such as knitting, wire jewelry, and beautician skills. In the knitting class the women learned how to make shalls, decorative pieces, and beach cover-ups. In wire jewelry, they learned to make earrings, chains, necklaces, rings, and bracelets. In the mini beauty school, they learned how to do natural manicures, French manicures, applying fake nails, facials, pedicures, and nail art. While making their creations we reviewed on pricing scales, markets, customer service, marketing ideas, and more.
In the end of the project the group of women had bonded and created a new support system within themselves. The learned skills helped the women build their confidence in their abilities and taught them a new way that they can be more independent. During the closing ceremony of the project, the women boasted with pride about their new skills and showed off their new creations. We are now working on the footwork to have HELP Women reach a new population and continue its great work.
- Emily Skinner, former Project Co-ordinator
I am a Danish University student who arrived in Huanchaco late June to do a 4 month internship with OCN. I work in the Office and in the community of Cerrito de la Virgen were I am now the project coordinator of HELP Women, Cerrito.
After the success of the HELP Women project carried out in the community of El Trópico we decided to launch HELP Women, Cerrito. Thanks to the kind donation from our former volunteers, Charles and Lenneke, we were able to initiate the program on the 27th of July.
The women in Peru are often unaware of their rights, live with domestic violence and many girls get pregnant at a very young age – this is no different in Cerrito de la Virgen. The objective of the program is to empower women from Cerrito de la Virgen by teaching them to sew, a skill they can sell and thereby gain money for the household. As the program evolves we will be giving the women classes in basic business and marketing to increase their possibilities of selling their new skill. The majority of the women have either no education or have only finished the first few years of school, and the need for classes in reading/writing and math were immediately obvious. When relying on the help from volunteers to carry out projects it is difficult to plan when you can begin with new initiatives, but luckily a Spanish volunteer, Dara, agreed to begin classes in reading/writing and math on the 11th of September. When possible we will also give the women classes about their basic rights, sexual education etc. Some of the women are very eager to learn to give themselves and their children better opportunities in life which gives this program great possibilities!
- Nanna Tommerup, HELP Women Cerrito Project Co-ordinator