In Quechua, the native language of Andean Peru, Achkiy (pronounced Ash-key) is used to mean light and anything that sparkles and shines
Since 1995, Achkiy has been working to bring light and hope to some of Peru’s most impoverished communities. From the rubbish tips in the north of Lima to the shanty towns in the south, Achkiy has been training resourceful women to make high quality jewellery for a non-poverty wage.
The project was set up by Ruth Pacheco from Peru and Julia Crellin from the UK who shared a deep concern for the plight of Lima's marginalised women. Together, they organised simple jewellery making workshops to equip the women with marketable skills and a greater sense of self-worth. Through this project they hoped the women might achieve some degree of financial independence and stability that would enable them to fund and support the care and education of their children.
Eighteen years on, Achkiy has expanded to work with a number of different initiatives across Peru resulting in a diverse range of jewellery and other products. But our concept is still very much to keep each project small and intimate so that the women take and feel ownership of the project and work as a small co-operative.
The projects and groups we are currently supporting include:
- Partnering with the charity "Hope and Song to Freedom" we provide training and work opportunities to women inside Lima's Santa Monica prison as well as to those women released from prison but struggling to find work
- The Shipibo tribe in the Pucallpa jungle
- The Awajun community in Northeastern Peru
- A silversmithing project in Lima
- A knitting project in the Andes
This has all been made possible by the appointment of two key women in Lima:
Lizeth Rodriguez Casaverde comes to us from fashion house Topy Top where she gained years of invaluable experience in fashion and design. She is no stranger to Achkiy as she started her working life making cards with us over 10 years ago.
Pilar Contreras Terrazas is helping us to fulfil a long term dream by heading up a brand new silversmithing project, resulting not only in fantastic collection of beautiful silver jewellery but also exciting new training opportunities in silversmithing for more women.
The results speak for themselves! We hope you agree!
Achkiy is divided into two parts: the trading arm "Achkiy Ltd" and the charity "Achkiy Training and Development". All profits from the trading arm go directly to the charity to be used for education and training and/or community projects such as felt-making workshops in Cusco.