5 Laptop and iPad Case Designs Empower 13 Women Weavers in the High Andes

Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Measure Impact, poverty, South America

In a small, impoverished community called Choquecancha, 13 women aged 24 to 64 are weaving textiles with traditional methods and patterns that have been passed down through indigenous families for generations.

This community is 12,000 feet above sea level and two hours away from the nearest town by bus. Tina Novero, a scholar from San Francisco, came to the Peruvian high Andes to ask, “What does empowerment mean for women in this region?” She developed INKAcase, featured for sale on Designed Good this week, as part of her response.

After spending months in the Sacred (Lares) Valley over several trips, Tina learned that the women in this remote village, like women and people everywhere, have a range of dreams; conversation after conversation also revealed that these women really valued being able to take care of their families and build a better future for their children. 75% of the children in this region are malnourished.

INKAcase allows women to reach a market large enough to generate an income for themselves: laptop and iPad owners in the United States. Tina works with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development to implement this program: these 13 women are part of the first pilot weaving group.

Earning an income means the power to assert yourself in a community, decision-making power in a household, and the breathing room to step back and think about how to help the people you love.

Similarly, weaving a textile has meaning beyond earning an income. The textiles carry stories and records in themselves; indigenous Peruvians speak Quechua, which has no written counterpart – for hundreds of years, the textiles have passed down the history of the high Andes between generations.

In support of this entire culture of textiles, INKAcases are made entirely of materials local to the Lares Valley. You might even call them “hyper-local” – the colors of the cases made in Choquecancha are different from anywhere else because they are made from natural plant dyes that change depending on the exact elevation of the plants.

Read more about INKAcase and purchase your own handwoven laptop or iPad case this week at Designed Good.

Katy Gathright

Katy Gathright is the co-founder of Designed Good, a new community that curates the best in design and social good. They hand-select and sell clothing, accessories, gear, gadgets, and artwork and tell the stories of how each product is designed for social good. She graduated from Williams College in 2012 and is most excited about engaging other millennials in the idea of great design for social change.

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