Laddy Laura Canal Mar is a native of the district of Ollantaytambo. She is licensed in business administration and is working with Awamaki as our sales coordinator. Laddy enjoys working with Awamaki because of its focus on economically empowering the women in the district of Ollantaytambo. She also thinks the preservation of textile tradition in Peru is important and admires how Awamaki aims to add value to such an ancient art.
Nelly Atansinchi was born in Apurimac, Peru and currently lives in the town of Urubamba with her family. She studies tourism and interned as a travel agency receptionist in Cusco and Machu Picchu prior to joining the Awamaki team.
Nelly started working with Awamaki in August 2016. She is the Assistant Sustainable Tourism coordinator and works to support communications between the communities and Awamaki. Nelly is fluent in Quechua and Spanish and is learning English, all of which help her act as a effective link between tourists, our organization, and the cooperatives. She enjoys working with Awamaki because it offers the chance to learn more about Andean culture and the art of weaving.
Sydney Perlotto joined the Awamaki team first as an intern in January 2016 and then as the full-time marketing and communications coordinator in August 2016. In this role she manages most of the visual and written content produced by Awamaki, from posting on social media to writing project reports for donors. She enjoys weaving together the diverse experiences of Awamaki artisans, staff, and volunteers for international audiences.
Sydney graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Global Social Change and Development and a minor in International Development and Conflict Management in 2015. After graduating, Sydney worked on an international development research project geocoding the locations of aid projects. During her time at Maryland, she traveled to Chile, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic learning about social justice and environmental sustainability in a Latin American context.
Working with Awamaki enables Sydney to connect directly with women artisans – better sharing their stories and learning from their experiences. In the future, Sydney hopes to continue working and advocating for women worldwide. In the meantime, you’ll find her walking the cobblestone streets of Ollantaytambo, Peru!
Juan Camilo Saavedra is from Cali, Colombia. He graduated from the Universidad Externado de Colombia with a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business and Management with a focus on sustainable tourism planning and development. Juan Camilo prides himself upon ensuring that tourism development actions and strategies have active community involvement and align with local perspectives, needs, cultures, economies, and the environment.
Prior to joining Awamaki, Juan Camilo worked as a tourism consultant for local tourism agency in Bogotá, Colombia. He conducted sustainable tourism assessments and evaluations for two ecotourism rural cooperatives in northern Colombia. Now as the Sustainable Tourism program coordinator at Awamaki, Juan Camilo’s day includes many tasks, ranging from managing tour reservations, training guides, and innovating ways to better connect travelers to local Quechua communities in the Sacred Valley of Peru. During his time at Awamaki, Juan Camilo aims to make tourists more aware of sustainable tourism as a way to positively impact local communities, economies, cultures, and places. You’re in for a real treat if Juan is your Awamaki guide!
Rita Camacho is the Head Designer at Awamaki and began working with us in November 2016. She works with the women’s cooperatives in Patacancha, Kelkanka, Huilloc, and Puente Inca alongside team members Mercedes and Martha. She is a graduate of Philadelphia College of Textiles with 10+ years experience working in the U.S. Rita is a native Peruvian who aims to learn about the weaving and knitting done by the local women and help produce goods that will appeal to national and international markets. You can always find her accompanied by her sweet dog Pola.
Kennedy first visited Ollantaytambo in 2001 on a high school service trip. The trip inspired her interest in Latin America and international development, and set her path to Georgetown University. After graduating from the School of Foreign Service in 2006, she moved to Ollantaytambo to work as a volunteer for a local Peruvian weaving non-profit. After two years, she and her colleagues from that project founded Awamaki. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington, where she specialized in non-profit management.
Kennedy spent most of eight years living in Ollantatyambo, where she loves the pace and quality of life. She currently lives in Seattle with her husband and son, and visits Peru frequently. In her free time she likes to camp, hike, cook, bike and talk to her son in Spanish.
Mercedes began working with Awamaki in January 2012. As Weaving Project Coordinator, and as a fluent Quechua speaker, Mercedes works with Awamaki’s women’s cooperatives in Patacancha, Kelkanka, Huilloc and Puente Inca. Within her responsibilities, Mercedes holds regular meetings with the women in their communities to discuss any production issues, to put in orders for the Awamaki fair trade shop in Ollantaytambo, and to pay the women for their work.
Mercedes leads workshops with all of Awamaki’s cooperatives in quality control, financial management, organization and communication, amongst other topics. Mercedes manages the finances of the Awamaki store, and plays a key role in purchasing and inventory control.
Katia Apaza was born in Ollantaytambo, Peru. She studies computing and information systems in the nearby town of Urubamba and continues to live in Ollantaytambo with her family.
Katia began working with Awamaki in July 2016. As an administrative assistant for the Awamaki office and manager of the Awamaki fair trade store, Katia is always busy. She is in charge of the store’s inventory, monitors store sales, and also works with the sustainable tourism team to organize local homestays and Spanish classes. Katia enjoys working with Awamaki because of the way in which it supports women and communities by creating opportunities for improving economic livelihoods.
Laura joined the Awamaki team in March 2015 as the Volunteer and Tourist Coordinator. In this role she is responsible for supporting individual volunteers through the application and pre-departure process, helps them achieve their goals while they are in Peru, and arranges homestays for volunteers and tourists. She also works to support short term volunteer groups on site at their projects in Ollantaytambo and the surrounding towns. She hopes to make each volunteer or groups’ experience impactful both for them and for Awamaki.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, in May 2014 she graduated from Vanderbilt University with her B.S. with a double major in Economics and International Human and Organizational Development. After graduating Laura took ten months to travel throughout Europe, Israel, and North America during which she walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, volunteered in the old city of Jerusalem, and worked with the homeless population in Berlin before joining the Awamaki team.
Laura has loved Latin America since she visited Guatemala in 2004 so she is excited to be back and working with Awamaki. Before Awamaki she spent time traveling to various countries including Honduras and Nicaragua on short-term service trips; working as a communications intern in Cochabamba, Bolivia; and studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina; which further developed her passion for Latin America. Additionally, at Vanderbilt her favorite activity was working with a service group planning, facilitating, and leading student trips to countries across Latin America so she is glad to continue working with volunteers and groups here in Peru!
Yovanna was born in the Victoria district of Lima. Her father is a painter and travelled a lot for his work, so Yovanna spent her childhood living and studying in various different cities in Peru, including Cusco, Quillabamba and Arequipa. At college in Lima, Yovanna studied Accounting. Yovanna has lived in the Cusco region since 2009. She worked for a year and a half as an Administrator for Cola de Mono Canopy in Santa Teresa, and then moved to Ollantaytambo to work as a Receptionist at KB Tambo Hotel and Tours.
Yovanna started working with Awamaki in August 2011 as Programs Coordinator. Yovanna plays a key role in managing the relationships with our homestay families, and also hosts the weekly meeting with the Spanish language teachers. Yovanna ensures that Awamaki submits all the relevant paperwork to our accountant and lawyers, supports Awamaki staff in their different roles and is a friendly face for all Awamaki volunteers. Yovanna really enjoys meeting new people from different countries and working in an international team of Awamaki staff and volunteers.
Martha Zuniga has been with Awamaki as the Production Coordinator since April 2014. She works as a liaison between Awamaki and the women in the cooperatives by delivering new designs templates to the women and informing them what products Awamaki Lab needs. For example, when a design volunteer has an idea for a product, Martha travels to the communities to teach the women how to best create this new item efficiently and effectively.
Martha was originally born in Ollantaytambo but now lives in Rumira, a community about ten minutes outside of the town. She attended El Colegio Agropecuari in Urubamba. When she moved to Rumira, she learned about Awamaki and joined the knitting cooperative there. While she still continues to knit in her free time, she is no longer a part of the cooperative and focuses on her work in the office and her family. She has three children, Cassandra (13), Raúl (7), and Luciana (5). When she has the chance, she loves going to the countryside with them.
Martha loves being a part of Awamaki and hopes she can continue to teach the women in the cooperatives all she’s learned while working with the cooperatives and at Awamaki.
Anne Marie Toccket holds a master’s degree in international development and nonprofit management from the University of Pittsburgh as well as three bachelor’s degrees in Spanish, journalism and international affairs from Penn State University. Anne Marie is a founding member of Awamaki and worked for its predecessor organization, CATCCO, in 2007-2008. She is founder of Procopia, a boutique consulting practice that supports nonprofits, social enterprises and social businesses in fundraising, strategic planning, ghostwriting and program design. During 2017, she will be a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, working on women’s entrepreneurship in the Western Hemisphere.
Anne Marie loves bicycling, cooking and international travel–she has been to 40 countries and counting. She has returned to Peru several times to complete monitoring and evaluation analyses of Awamaki and other NGOs. Our first and only U.S.-based staffmember, she also works very part-time for Awamaki writing grants, organizing fundraising events, and coordinating Stateside fair trade product sales.