PEOPLE NOT STONES
—SPI continues to transform lives and preserve the world's cultural heritage through our paradigm of local economic development. We’re empowering a new class of entrepreneurs in impoverished communities, whose successes are changing local attitudes about cultural heritage.
Our first project supporting artisans and touristic services at San Jose de Moro, Peru, continues to produce amazing results
. In this poor community where the average daily wage is $9.50, the total sales of SPI-supported entrepreneurs there reached over $11,000 this year, more than double last year’s total!
The demand for the local artisans’ handmade works of art continues to grow: Master artisan Julio Ibarrola recently received an order from a major Peruvian University for 100 of his ceramics, and NOVICA
, an online global platform that connects local artisans to customers around the globe, nearly sold out of Julio’s work this holiday season. These results have inspired entrepreneurship and economic development throughout the town, with five new shops having opened this year to serve the burgeoning tourist and artisanal demand. The success is changing the attitudes of the community and government leaders towards their cultural heritage, as they now see it as a sustainable economic asset to preserve rather than an expendable resource to exploit. The Municipality of Chepen is funding a new entrance to the site as well as a new site museum, its first investment in the project after twenty years of excavations and a direct response to the SPI paradigm.
Master artisan Julio Ibarrola instructing trainees in the art of designing and painting ceramics.
We empower women through entrepreneurship.
At San Jose de Moro, our project inspired the creation of ten jobs for local entrepreneurial women through cooking and weaving, the only such jobs available for women in the community. Augustina (pictured below) is one of seven entrepreneurial women in the San Jose de Moro who started their own business preparing traditional Peruvian lunches for archaeologists, field school students, and tourists during the field season this past summer. Diners and cooks alike shared in a cultural exchange of food, recipes, and discussion. The women met with significant success: in July alone, they brought in a total of $2,530 in revenue. With her share of the income, Augustina, voted “best cook” in a cook-off held at the end of July to celebrate Peruvian Independence Day, can now afford to send her daughter to study accounting at the Instituto Superior de Educación Publico
"Ciro Alegría Bazán."
Augustina (center) celebrating after winning San Jose de Moro's cook-off in July.
Our second project at Pampas Gramalote, started earlier this year, is already economically sustainable.
With an SPI grant of $10,000, local residents have created an artisanal workshop, a permanent exhibition area at the site with informative panels, and opened a small store in the nearby beach community of Huanchaco. Ten jobs have been created through this touristic and artisanal program, with trainees receiving practical lessons on how to carve gourds, their traditional uses in Peru and other countries, and their role at the archaeological site of Pampas Gramalote. 2012 year-to-date sales have exceeded $3,000, with over $1,000 of online sales through NOVICA
Work of the gourd artisans at Pampas Gramalote for sale in an SPI-sponsored store in Huanchaco.
Most importantly, the community is now preserving their cultural heritage as an economic asset: the local government has placed security around the archaeological site and has included Pampas Gramalote in a plan for conservation and reassessment.
SPI continues to receive requests for similar programs in other communities from around the globe.
We have two more projects in Peru starting in the first quarter of 2013. The first empowers the impoverished community at the archaeological site of Bandurria, Peru, home to some of the earliest monumental architecture in the Americas. Our second project will take place at Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru, a stunning 235-acre monumental multiple temple and pyramid complex, where several royal tombs have been discovered (click here for more information
). We also plan to bring our “People Not Stones” paradigm to Central America in the New Year with a focus on Belize and Costa Rica.
We need your help to continue our work in Peru, Central America, and around the world. Help us save sites and transform lives.
pays for the food to serve a traditional Peruvian meal to a tour bus of 30 people at San Jose de Moro.
pays for pigments to paint 50 pieces of pottery to sell in the San Jose de Moro Artisan Center or 10 bags of pigments to dye totora reeds at Pampas Gramalote.
pays for the publication of 200 brochures for one of our archaeological sites.
plants 1,000 gourds for artisans to carve, etch, and sell at Pampas Gramalote.
trains 10 students for a month as artisans in one of our training programs.
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Larry Coben and the Sustainable Preservation Initiative