Impacters, Responsible tourism

How Sustainable Tourism Helps the Women of the Andes

We sat down with the founder of partner org Huayna Paqareq Development Association of the Inka Region (ADEHPRI), to find out what inspired him to establish this organization dedicated to promoting sustainable growth and human development for Andean women and families in Cusco, Peru. Read our Q&A with its founder, to discover what about ADEHPRI’s work is so important to the women in these communities.

  1. What led to the creation of your organization?

Firstly, it was my family. As the fifth child of eight, I grew up between the poverty of the streets and the reality of the high Andean communities, which had a great impact during my childhood. Growing up, I started to admire the effort of women engaged in household chores, taking care of children and livestock, as well as having to devise a way to receive economic sustenance that would permit them to help support their families. All of this motivated me to create this association to work alongside women through sustainable projects including the development of their capacities, as well as to generate opportunities in tourism to receive and exchange local experiences with tourists.  

  1. Tell us about the evolution of the current tourism project in Chinchero, a village in the area of Cusco.

In general, the tourism sector here in Chinchero is increasing but a lot of business are somewhat cobbled together and sometimes prioritize their own private benefits rather than contributions to the community. However, we are committed to organizing women, seeking their well-being so it can be reflected in the entire community. For this reason, we have been supporting six women’s weaving associations. We have improved their capacities for dyeing alpaca and sheep wool through natural processes with plants. This is how we manage to produce garments of fine finishings and high quality that are at the forefront.

  1. How does sustainable tourism help your organization’s mission?

Tourist activity is of great importance in the empowerment of the women in our community. The income generated from tourism helps us to achieve sustainability, and with the profits we manage to reinvest, the women can buy materials and supplies necessary for further textile work. Some of the benefits are translated directly into better opportunities for their families.

  1. What is the relationship between the empowerment of women and their tourism activity?

Through tourism, women achieve leadership in their communities, developing their capacity for communication by being in contact with tourists, and improving their economic condition and that of their families through the profits of their textile activities. Tourism is important in our community because tourist activity has a direct social impact.

  1. How your organization struggles to achieve that goal?

We always have to find friends and like-minded institutions that understand the value of solidarity and cooperation. This is why we are trying to develop sustainable projects that elevate the work of women. We look for volunteers who, with their collaboration, improve the quality of life for their families, especially women in high Andean communities.

  1. Do you see any change in the mindset of visitors at the end of the tour?

We love the recommendations and advice visitors constantly give to the groups and to our organizations. In addition, we see that the visits generate empathy, as visitors familiarize themselves with the community and its activities and come to understand the way of life in the community.

In the spirit of international women’s day, I would like to extend my greetings to the women of the world, especially those from the inland, who, with the sweat of their brow, nurture their children, seeking a better future for themselves and their families. The embrace recalls the peasant woman, the textile weaver, the woman producer, and all the women of the world.

Leandro, Founder of ADEHPRI