Manos Amigas

Manos Amigas is a fair trade organization dedication to the export of handicrafts and to alternative tourism. Manos Amigas, which means 'Hands Joined In Friendship,' works with family workshops and with small business groups and associations that make a variety of handicrafts in impoverished areas of Lima and in the Andean highlands. Manos Amigas offers training workshops for their artisans, and participates in international trade fairsto gain new markets for artisans.


Manos Amigas was established in Lima in 1991. Ten Thousand Villages was one of its two first customers.


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An Artistic Tradition

Carrying on the tradition of her artisan father, Lizett Hurtado creates detailed gourd artwork items for Manos Amigas, a Ten Thousand Villages trading partner in Lima, Peru.



Lizett Hurtado is the daughter of Pablo Hurtado, a Peruvian artisan who has been producing a variety of gourd items for Ten Thousand Villages for many years. Lizzet had been working with her father until two years ago, when she married and decided to start a new workshop with her husband. At that point, they sent samples to Manos Amigas and started to produce some small orders—while also helping Pablo with his larger orders.



The order for turtle boxes from Ten Thousand Villages motivated Lizett and her husband to buy a house. With the help of a loan from the local bank, as well as from an uncle, they were able to make the purchase. Lizzet and her husband have been working diligently to pay down the debt, and expressed gratitude for the order that made their new home possible.

Alfredo Sacsa's Story

With an artist’s touch, Alfredo Sacsa adds the fine details to the painted wood accent furniture he designs and creates in his home workshop, located in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Using local wood and his carpentry skills, Alfredo transforms raw lumber into attractive accent pieces for your home.



Alfredo and his wife, Isabel, create quality, painted wood pieces for Ten Thousand Villages artisan partner Manos Amigas, based in Lima, Peru. Alfredo’s connection with Manos Amigas, aptly named “hands joined in friendship,” gives him access to the international marketplace and a guarantee of prompt payment and fair prices for his work.



Alfredo’s skill and determination to build his business and provide for his wife and five children means positive changes in their daily lives.

Finding a New Path

Felipe Enriquez, whose workshop produces best-selling ceramic nativities for Ten Thousand Villages, comes from Ayacucho, a large town in the Andes mountains of Peru. During the time of the “Sendero Luminoso” (Shining Path) uprising, many Peruvians including Enriquez were asked to take sides: join the Shining Path revolutionaries or support the military. Enriquez refused to take sides, and as a result his life was threatened. Deciding it was too dangerous for himself and his family to remain in their home area, Enriquez and his brother, Julio, and their families moved to the capital city of Lima.



With little money and no wealthy friends or relatives, they ended up in a “new town”—a community of displaced people on the outskirts of Lima. Enriquez staked his claim to a vacant piece of land and started to rebuild his life. The family had no electricity, water, sewer or any other services.



Enriquez did have his ceramic skills, however, and he started to make pots and figurines to sell, hoping to earn a decent living for his family. He learned about Manos Amigas, one of Ten Thousand Villages’ fair trade suppliers in Peru, and they helped him to find export customers. The first product Ten Thousand Villages purchased from Enriquez was his Hands Nativity, which has gone on to become a best-selling product.



Enriquez now employs four to seven artisans, depending on order quantity, and supports his own family through income from his business. He creates all of the master products and makes the molds so that the basic forms and shapes can be reproduced over and over again. All of the fine details and painting are done by hand, one product at a time.



Enriquez has high hopes for his son and daughter. His son, Luis, sees the success of his father and uncle’s business, and wants to follow in their footsteps. Ten Thousand Villages’ purchases from Enriquez’s workshop, through Manos Amigas, are helping to provide hope and a bright future for this family and for others in their neighborhood.

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