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A Canadian Resident Makes Sure The Profits Go To Those Making The Knitted Ponchos And Other Items
For 15 years, Beverly Edwards-Sawatzky, a Canadian living in Oyama, has been helping Bolivian women living in a poor area of the country, sell their knitted goods in order to make a honest living.
The Canadian was impressed with the quality of the knitted items made by a co-operative from Bolivia called Minkha. She decided right away that she was going to help the women get the money they deserved for their work.
So she took a plane to Bolivia, to meet the women behind the beautiful Minkha products. So she learned how the co-operative came into being.
The women involved in the project had all been abandoned by their husbands, once the tin mines began to close. To survive, they made this co-operative, and called it Minkha which, in the local dialect, stands for “women working together”.
Beverly immediately thought of ways to help the women get out of poverty through the work of their hands. Edmonton, Calgary, Cranbrook and Lake Country have been the places where she has organized displays of the knitted items made by her Bolivian friends.
All sorts of ponchos, wraps, sweaters and shawls have been offered for a fair price to anyone wanting to help.
During the 15 years during which she helped Minkha, 600,000 dollars were generated as revenue, and this money went to 45 Bolivian families.
The results are rewarding, as Beverly remarks: “These families have gone from total poverty, to owning and operating their own business. Their children are becoming professional doctors, lawyers, and nurses.”
Others, who were impressed with the efforts made by the women, chose to bring their contribution. Among them, Kaffe Fassett, a reputable knitting designer, offered a few of his patterns to the Minkha co-operative, to help the women in their work.