Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And the Winner Is …..

Monday afternoon our entire Hope House staff and village bank members had their eyes glued to the TV screen to see who would be named best crocheter in Cajamarca by the hit daytime show “Lima Limon”. Two of our Hope House Instructors, Alicia Linares and her daughter, Rosario Yupanqui, were the front runners. Rosario presented three beautiful outfits with bright pinks, blues, and oranges— just like her personality. Her designs were one of a kind and I was convinced she would take home the crown. But when Alicia graced the stage, she surprised everyone with an elegant wedding dress that included gloves and a hat. After more than forty minutes of anticipation, the panel of judges finally made a decision. AND THE WINNER WAS…ALICIA LINARES! Along with the title, Alicia won S/. 5,000 (approximately $1,800) and will now advance to the finals where she will compete with women from Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, and other well-known cities. I’m so proud of both of our teachers and grateful that our women are able to learn a trade that provides so much abundance in their lives. Did I mentioned that both sent warm greetings to the Hope House and our women? I wasn’t able to record the programn but I took a picture of the TV screen just before they announced the winner. Rosario is located on the left and Alicia on the right.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

Alicia Linares and Rosario Yupanqui preparing to be interviewed.

Saludos DHF Family!
I couldn’t wait to share the wonderful news with all of you back home regarding two of our amazing Hope House instructors: Rosario “Charo” Yupanqui and her mother, Alicia Linares. Both came on board in February of this year and currently manage three crochet circles in the town of Baños del Inca. Upon interviewing both for the job, I was immediately captivated by their amazing ability to crochet and knit beautiful articles of clothing (in record time) as well as their sincere desire to help our women learn a craft that is both financially and spiritually rewarding. So what is all the good news about? This past Saturday I received word that both were finalists in national crochet competition hosted by the famous Peruvian television show “Lima Limón.” To understand the magnitude of this event, think the “Today Show” meets “American Idol.”  What made the stream of events even more exciting is that both received word via ambush. Charo, finishing her final touches on a poncho with crochet circle “Fuerza y Bendicion,” noticed from the distance an entourage of lights and cameras running towards her. When they finally made it to her she was already in tears excited to know that she’ll be traveling to Lima in less than a week to compete in the mother of all crochet competitions in Peru.  Alicia was at home preparing lunch when a knock at the door similar to a Publisher’s Clearing House moment lead to hugs and kisses congratulating her as one of three finalists in Cajamarca. In a nutshell, Charo and Alicia will be travelling to Lima on Monday, August 15, where they will present three of their best crochet clothing designs. A panel of judges will then select the winner who will then advance to the finals competing with women from Cusco, Trujillo, Lima, and other cities. Part of the competition consists of designing an outfit from head to toe based on a theme (wedding, carnival, etc.). The winner will receive a check for S/.5,000 (approximately $1,800) and a supply of yarn from the company Cisne. I’m confident either Charo or Alicia will be the winner. On Sunday the film crew asked me to tape a greeting explaining or village bank project and our teacher’s involvement in Hope House. By Monday all of Peru will know who DHF is! Let’s keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crochet Circles In Review

Hello DHF Family,
It’s Des signing back in! I’d like to start the month of August off right with none other than crocheting! This past July we had some amazing experiences with our crochet classes, which have not only provided our women with extra income, but have helped unite our village banks even more. If you remember in February of this year, I noticed that our women living in rural communities had an extremely difficult time attending our Hope House classes in Cajamarca. The rise in bus fair and the commuting time can make, what should be an easy trip to the Hope House, extremely challenging. After asking the women about the kinds of classes they'd like to participate in, it was unanimous. HELLO CROCHET CIRCLES HERE WE COME!
We currently have 10 active crochet circles in which women select a design for the month. The Hope House contracts an instructor for three to four classes and women pay half the cost of their yarn. In the end, the women have a product that can either be sold or gifted with the end result either being a profit or savings. What started out as an attempt to help bring Hope House to more women is now a well organized program generating additional income that allows our women to help pay back their loans and reivest in their businesses, homes, and families. Many of our participants now have special orders. Others are either focusing their businesses on crocheting or reconsidering changing their current business. During the month of June, our crochet circles reported a total of $312.84 in additional income. I’m still crunching the numbers for July but they are sure to exceed $350.  I’d like to end this entry with a few additional numbers that will give you a better perspective:
·         Since February 2011 we have organized a total of 131 classes.
·         A total of $1,538.94 in additional income was reported.
·         A total of $667.74 in additional savings was reported.
·         More than 98 women have benefited from these classes.
So in conclusion, thanks to your financial contributions our women are living more abundant lives!

Recently formed crochet circle "Las Hortensias" celebrating the end of their first module in which they made beautiful blouses.

Crochet Circle "Las Rositas" completing their first month of classes.

Emerita and Marta from Crochet Circle "Las Margaritas" hard at work finishing the final touches on the baby sweaters.