Our partner FEDICE works to liberate the indigenous women high in the Andes Mountains. Life is hard here, and to eke out a living entails constant hardship. The terrain in which the people live is not very productive so that they are reduced to growing the few crops and raising the few animals that can survive the freezing temperatures and searing sun. Their basic diet consists of potatoes, corn, and lima beans.
The projects with FEDICE provide food for families, leadership training, better methods of crop production, lessons in nutrition and health, and opportunities to develop self-esteem and confidence. FEDICE’s approach has been very successful because it makes the women responsible for the success of each project, but does not leave them on their own to sink or swim. The women form an organization and submit a proposal for a micro-enterprise. When approved FEDICE loans them the money to start. The loan must be repaid in one year. To date, no women’s organization has ever defaulted on their loan. In fact, most are repaid early. When each loan is repaid, women may submit another proposal for another project. Through this loan rotation, four villages are now self-sufficient and no longer require assistance from FEDICE.
The projects for the women of the Andes Mountains through our partner, FEDICE, continue to provide food for their families, leadership training, better methods of production, lessons in nutrition and health, and opportunities to develop self-esteem and confidence. FEDICE, not through patronizing charity, but by being a partner with people is improving their lot in life. The young people of these villages are no longer migrating to the city. They are staying in their villages and building small, two-room houses for their families.