"I didn't just find a job, I found friends. I am thankful for everyone for their open arms and I'm happy to be a part of the team."

Maria Luisa is one of our newest knitters. After participating in our 3 month training process, she officially joined Chimuk as an artisan in January 2023. She learned about Chimuk through her sister in law, Ysela, who is a part of the core production team.

Maria is from Huanchaquito Alto, Trujillo, Peru and was born June 20, 1988. She has completed primary school. She has 2 children: 16 and 6 years old who live with her. Her husband drives a taxi (earning about $13 per day), and owns his own car. They met when she was 15 years old and she had her first child at age 18.

Maria likes to sew and raise animals. She raises & sells guinea pig ("cuy" - a delicacy in Peru), but it doesn't give her enough money. She primarily works as a house wife. Her parents are from the highland town of Santiago de Chuco.

When asked how she feels about joining Chimuk, Maria responded "I feel nervous and excited to join Chimuk and belong here. I feel useful and that by myself I can go forward in life, be happy, and have a future. My husband notices I am happier now because I am doing something that I enjoy. In the beginning, I thought I wouldn't be able to do it, but now I can do it, and I feel happier."

When asked about the mental health workshops, Maria responded "As a woman, it makes me feel better about myself, and more connected."