For the 150,000 people with hearing disabilities in Kazkhstan, it can, indeed, be a silent, lonely existence.  Services for the deaf and understanding of support are still a challenge in many areas, particularly those living in poverty. Some grow up never learning any formal sign language because their families are unable to access support. Our Christmas cards in 2016 were made by deaf and hearing impaired young adults. They carefully crafted the cards’ hand-made components, drawing on cultural elements traditional to the region and even the humour with which, despite life’s difficulties, they wonderfully embed in their craft.

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“Those were the years of violence,” said Juliana, a Peruvian woman who works with craft collective Kuyanakuy. She reflected on the bloody internal conflict that raged in parts of Peru in the early 1990s, leaving at least 70,000 people dead. At the height of the violence, Juliana was sheltering 12 families who were forced out of their homes to flee the terror.

Although the conflict has now settled in Juliana’s community, it left deep scars. Women who lived through that time lost husbands, children and beloved neighbours. Many found themselves impoverished without their breadwinner or another steady source of income.

Out of these ashes, a group of women banded together to form Kuyanakuy, a name that means ‘Let us love’: a place where today women survivors of the conflict can meet, support each other, cry together, and work together to create beautiful handicrafts drawing on rich Peruvian artistic traditions and imagery. All the craftswomen are from low-income families and most are illiterate when they join, with little chance of a decent, steady job. Through Kuyanakuy, though, they are now learning to read and write alongside their new-found handicraft skills. As well, of course, this work generates income for them as they care, single-handed, for their families.

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Browse Global Handicrafts’ full online range here or visit our shop at Crossroads Village to walk through our colourful global marketplace, with even more handmade delights from around the world, all of which care for the people who made them.

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Syria: Aid and empowerment for refugees

Shipment Feedback: The conflict in Syria continues to devastate lives and communities, with thousands of people still displaced and living in flimsy...

read more ...

Directions to the Good Gift Fair

How to get to the Good Gift Fair at Crossroads Village Free shuttle bus: Free shuttle buses to the Good Gift Fair will...

read more ...

Tanzania: Training, education, and HIV care

WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING? In rural Tanzania, poverty is widespread and affects every area of life. Sadly, the nation is still...

read more ...

Malawi: Bridging the urban-rural divide

WHO IS THIS SHIPMENT HELPING? Despite making great strides economically over the past decade, Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in...

read more ...