A small house in a neighborhood with a troubled past

Small house of three floors like so many others in San Martin de Porres, a modest district of the northern suburbs of Lima, Casa Betania may not attract the attention. But it is to ignore its rich past.

This association was founded in 1994 during one of the most difficult periods in the history of Peru. Ravaged by the years of insurrection of the Maoist group "Shining Path" and the economic crisis, the Peru of the 80s and early 90s had a large population living in precariousness. The north of Lima was the biggest migration center of the time, and its valleys and dry plains received a crowd of migrants undergoing the inequality and violence of those years of conflict.


It was in this context that Casa Betania set out to provide a space for women in situations of vulnerability. With its first cohort of associates, gathered in this small house from the 1950s, they reflected on the activities to be undertaken to improve their living conditions. Having each inherited a textile know-how, they decided to create a workshop where they would make accessories to be resold in the markets. Little by little, as their skills improved, the women of this neighborhood have managed to achieve a comfortable and dignified lifestyle.

The future of Casa Betania

Today, the neighborhood has changed, but the small house of Casa Betania continues its activities, welcoming those who are anxious to achieve economic independence in a society that is very unfair to women. Their activities have become even more sustainable as they have allied with Fair Trade institutions, such as CIAP, which allowed them to sell their products to a globalized market for a fair price.
And if the pandemic of the COVID-19 could have been a blow to their sales, the network of alliances among artisans that CIAP has opened up will undoubtedly be a way forward.

Manuel-Antonio Monteagudo


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