Friday, December 11, 2009

Jessica Rodriguez

We hope you enjoy this video of Jessica Rodriguez. Jessica is a close partner with Indigenous. Here she tells the story of creating opportunity for knitters in southern Peru through collaboration within the Indigenous Designs fair trade production model. Jessica Rodriguez visited Indigenous after being recognized by Hilary Clinton for her important work.

Over a decade ago, we met a remarkable woman named — Jessica Rodriquez — while traveling in
the Andes of Peru. At that time Jessica was producing hand made knits and working with just a few
employees. Her mission was to provide opportunities to the many women in remote areas who had
no access to work. We shared in Jessica’s vision, and through planning and commitment, set forth
on a path together to bring opportunity to these women. Thanks to the wonderful response from
customers like you Indigenous has been able to slowly build up capacity and provide stable work for
the artisans, and Jessica now manages and supports over 700 families throughout the highlands of
This is the story of Mario and Maria Huisa. They are just one of the 700 family members who have
benefited from collaboration over the past decade. When Jessica first met Maria and Mario, they
were living and working in a modest brick home in the highlands of Peru. Together, Mario and Maria
wanted to find opportunities to work within their village while continuing to practice their ancestral
knitting heritage. They also wanted to find a way to help support their community. Jessica recognized
a special spark within Mario and Maria. She explained, “They had passion and wanted to make a
difference within their village and family, but because of their distant location the opportunity for
work was scarce.” Through collaboration with Indigenous and Jessica, Mario and Maria were
provided with just the opportunity they needed. They started with only one knitting machine and the
passion to make a difference in their community. Today, Mario and Maria have built a new home, own
ten knitting machines, four linking machines and provide work for up to 40 artisan knitters within
their community. Mario and Maria shared in our vision and the fundamental belief that if given the
opportunity, change could happen. They are just one example of the courage and tenacity that
indigenous artisans possess. Thank you for allowing us to provide the opportunity for change.
Our specific work with Jessica has been acknowledged by Hilary Clinton and the State Department
through Pathways to Prosperity as an exemplarily model for women empowerment and