The Problem

Fossil fuel extraction, deforestation, and clearing land for pasture devastate the Amazon rain forest because there are few alternative sources of income available to the people who live there. These practices also lead to a loss of culture, language and land sovereignty as communities and the environment they depend on are destroyed, and many young people, especially women migrate to cities where they face discrimination and poverty.  HAKHU aims to provide a unique opportunity to indigenous women in the Ecuadorian Amazon to continue their cultural forms of art while providing an income for their family and being part of a women's association that will support and empower them. 

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The Hahku Project

Hahku, which means let’s go in Kichwa, is an organization that is dedicated to promoting sustainable development projects in league with small indigenous communities within the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Hahku Project was formed by community leaders and Leo Cerda, an environmental activist and member of the Kichwa Nation, as a way to provide income for people in these areas that are hard hit by oil exploitation. Hahku’s goal is to create sustainable sources of income for people native to the Amazon region so they can have an alternative to the extractive and destructive industries of oil, mining, lumber, and beef. The first project to be undertaken is Hahku Amazon Design.

 

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Hakhu Amazon Design

Hakhu Amazon Design is an online platform to sell the products of indigenous women artisans from the Shiwiar, Kichwa, Sapara and Waorani Nations from the Ecuadorian Amazon. As well as being used to pay for basic needs such as transport and school fees, the money received from the products will support further projects within a community-based initiative format, such as providing workshops on how to continue these traditional art forms and designs in order to develop quality products and keep cultural knowledge from disappearing.

 

Hakhu Women's Association

Besides providing the online marketing tools for exporting their handicrafts, Hakhu also acts as an association for the women artisans, supporting, advising, and empowering them. The Hahku Women’s Association aims to connect women from different areas and nations in Ecuador. This will not only enable them to develop larger-scale projects, but also share ideas and unite as one voice to protect their rights and values from exploitative corporations and the government.

Photos and Video by Ian Frank and Stephany Bravo