are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
|Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge||MOST/CIRAN|
Aymara Kuru, the ancient technique of weaving belts, taught to displaced indigenous children by indigenous women from the communities of rural Ayacucho.DESCRIPTION
Aymara Kuru is an ancient technique of weaving belts or girdles, used in the rural areas of the department of Ayacucho in Peru. All the materials used are made from animals native to the region (alpaca, sheep etc.) and coloured with traditional vegetal dyes. In 1994 the Chirapaq Center of Indigenous Cultures started to teach Aymara Kuru to displaced children attending the Noqanchiq cultural expression workshops. The teachers were indigenous women who had migrated from rural areas to the cities as a result of terrorism or economic hardship. The technique has not always been taught to children. The last generation, which was largely displaced during the forgotten civil war (between 1980 and 1992), was in danger of losing this knowledge altogether. Many children were orphaned, which meant that knowledge of Aymara Kuru was not passed on.
Aymara Kuru does not require any advanced instruments. On the contrary, in its simplest form it can be practised almost anywhere where there is a standing object to which the threads can be tied. This simpler version is first taught to children, who then learn more as they grow older and can produce belts and girdles of better quality.
Aymara Kuru was incorporated in the Noqanchiq workshops because the various activities (selection of the fibres, dyeing, spinning, warping and interlacing) develop the children’s psychomotive, symbolic, logical, mathematical and physical abilities. It is also a part of the ancient Andean culture and a way of affirming the identity and self-esteem of displaced children who have suffered hardships during the years of terrorism and who have been uprooted from their homes, their culture and their ancestors. In addition, it means that ancient techniques of vegetal dyeing and spinning can be passed on to the younger generations.
Aymara Kuru is an ancient practice, which uses natural colorants and natural fibres from Andean animals (alpaca, sheep). It is a traditional technique native to the area and uses simple tools that require no large investment. It has two levels of difficulty, which makes it very suitable for children.
Economic sustainability: it generates income for the children and their families.
Environmental sustainability: the weavers use natural materials and colorants (from trees, plants and cochinilla (woodlice)). While searching for and selecting the vegetable and animal fibres, the children get to know them and to understand the value of the natural environment, the flora and fauna, and in this way will contribute to their preservation.
Other types of sustainability: it affirms the children’s identity and culture, while developing their various abilities.
STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFICIARIES
The beneficiaries are children from 8 - 17 years old. Teaching of Aymara Kuru initially started as part of the Noqanchiq cultural expression workshops, intended to give displaced children an opportunity for socio-emotional and cultural expression and to affirm their identity. It is now becoming more widespread since the Ministry of Education has made it part of the official curriculum in this part of Peru.
The project was initiated by the Chirapaq Center of Indigenous Cultures. The teachers are displaced indigenous women from the rural areas of Ayacucho and the pupils are indigenous children. Children who are not of rural origin are now also being taught the technique in city schools. Around 500 children have been taught the technique over a period of eight years.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
It is no problem to transfer the practice.
The Ministry of Education has made the teaching of Aymara Kuru part of the formal curriculum in state schools in the Ayacucho region. Chirapaq has received financial support from international organizations to produce and distribute the Aymara Kuru - Guia didactica guide to teachers and schools in the area.
The only problem would be if the traditional designs were to be used for commercial purposes, as they belong to the people of the area. The aim is not to create a new market, but to give children and adolescents the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge. One possible outcome of their efforts could be the commercialization of their work.
Wari Ezequiel Zárate Gutiérrez
Organization that provided this information:
To MOST Clearing House Best Practices on Poverty and Social Exclusion
To MOST/CIRAN Database of Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge
To MOST Clearing House Homepage