With the holidays around the corner, you're probably feeling that particular joy that only comes around this time of the year.
You might also be feeling overwhelmed. The holidays this year are unlike any other and although it may be festivities for some, there is a lot of added burden for others. This year has resulted in job-loss for many, making non-essential expenses the first to go.
If you're currently browsing gifts for your loved ones, consider checking out Esperança's new craft store. These unique, handmade scarfs, ponchos, bracelets, hats and more are great as meaningful gifts and as a way to give back to their makers. For each purchase you make, 100% of the proceeds go to supporting the Q'ero people of Peru.
Interested in learning more? Let's get to it.
Let's travel to Peru. At the highest altitude in the Andes mountains live the Q'ero. Indigenous people of Peru, their ancestry traces back to when the Incan people were invaded by Spanish conquistadors. Today's Q'ero ancestors sought refuge high in the mountains, keeping their culture intact all these years.
The Q'ero culture is beautiful and very different from what Americans are used to. For one, they live in modest homes. Usually, a room made of clay and natural stone with grass roofs.
There are six major Q'ero villages making up a few thousand people scattered in remote parts of the mountains, each at different altitudes. Everyone speaks the indigenous language of Quechua, though most are taught Spanish to communicate with the rest of their countrymen. A teacher from one of the larger cities lives with the Q'ero for a portion of the year to offer schooling for the local children. Education is taught through 6th grade.
The Q'ero are highly spiritual people, though they don't follow any form of religion. They also lack a shamanic culture which is surprising because many other Peruvian nations are known for having a shaman influence. Instead, the Q'ero call their spiritual leader paqos.
The biggest difference between shamans and paqos is that instead of relying on plant medicines and music, Q'ero revere the Cosmic Mother (also known as Pachamama) which essentially means they live in balance with and respect all living beings.
Although it is easy to forget, one of the oldest traditions of Christmas is charity. Helping families in need is part of the warmth that the holidays bring about. With Esperança's Q'ero craft store, you'll be directly supporting a culture that has been around for 600 years.
The textiles and crafts that Q'ero people create can be traced back to pre-Inka weaving traditions. The designs were often imagery that was a type of visual language. Think of how hieroglyphics were used to communicate in ancient Egypt.
The weaving holds an elaborate narrative about humanity, the meaning of life, and the universe. Not only are the visuals intricate and heartfelt, but everything about the Q'ero crafts is vibrant!
The use of colors, composition, and symbols explores several ideas. Anything from the weather, to agriculture and even mythical history. If you have the opportunity to see it in person, you don't want to pass it up.
The textiles are unique in many ways. Each weaver takes their time, this often means weeks or months, to make a piece. There are no mass producing factories, just hard-working people making beautiful works of art.
Give Back This Holiday Season
Now more than ever, the Q'ero people need our help. The pandemic has left them even more isolated from the outside world. So this craft store is a way to help preserve their well-being and culture.
The proceeds from items purchased from this craft store are going directly to the people who need it most, the Q'ero. It assists with building safe ecological homes that decrease the risk of disease as well as training for local farmers so they're able to produce a variety of crops.
As mentioned earlier, this year has brought a lot of unprecedented trouble to many families around the world. Unfortunately, Q'eros have suffered due to the strict quarantine regulations implemented in Peru.
One of the biggest health concerns is contaminated water. Dehydration and water-borne parasites are endemic contributors to health issues. It is heartbreaking, but the child mortality rate among the Q'ero is 40-50%.
It doesn't have to be this way. It's possible to help the Q'ero people by providing the aid they need without disrupting their lifestyle. The goal is to support without removing the importance in their culture that has been around for so long.
People have traveled and visited the Q'ero for so long and they've always been a generous community. They share their healing properties with many and radiate peaceful energy. With that sort of humanity, it makes sense that everyone should want to keep this culture thriving for years to come.
Besides the knowledge of knowing you're making a difference in someone's life, charitable donations can be deducted from your taxes.
After you're finished planning your recipes for the holidays and putting up the Christmas tree, you can start searching for gifts for everyone on your list. One of the best gift options is through our Q'eros craft store where you can donate to families in need and give back.
This year has impacted many people globally, there is always a family who needs help. What better way to get your tasks done, give a beautiful handmade gift, and participate in charitable giving?
If this has left you curious about more ways to help the Q'eros (or anyone for that matter), check out how you can get involved!