For the past nine weeks, I have been working with an organization called Expand Peru in Huancayo, establishing a sustainable economic development program that will accept international volunteers. My primary responsibility is to help a group of 10-15 teenage girls launch a bakery through microcredit and business education. We meet every day for 2-4 hours for lessons on marketing, accounting, economics, and management as well as for more social activities, such as games to learn English, sports, and arts and crafts.
I am also running a business/art camp with orphans at an SOS Children’s Village. After teaching myself how to knit and make jewelry, I held vocational workshops with around 50 kids. My goal is to enable the older teenagers to sell their products through a partnership with N’SESA International, a US-based nonprofit, and earn supplemental income. In the evenings, I provide work-skill and financial literacy training to young adults who were previously part of the SOS Children’s Village and who are now trying to start careers and gain fiscal independence. I have taught English, worked on interviewing skills, and edited their CVs. Around a week ago, my host mother expressed interest in participating in an adult version of my youth microenterprise program. She pulled together a group of unemployed women in the community who share a passion for knitting. In addition to meeting with them to provide design and recordkeeping assistance, I work on my time to establish partnerships with retail platforms around the world and to construct a website where they can advertise their hats and scarves.
Originally Published August 17, 2013