"I always wanted to participate in programs that would empower our women… I decided to offer classes to people from marginalized neighborhoods, training them in handicrafts."
Born in Cuzco on June 27, 1946, Benita Cutipa de Lopez received a teaching degree in home economics that included pattern making, sewing, knitting, embroidery, manual arts and pastries. "I always knew I wanted to do something that would help my country's development," she says. "I always wanted to participate in programs that would empower our women, and I began organizing courses for groups of mothers and farm wives from the Puno highlands. At the time, they were experiencing a severe drought."
Even after marrying and forming her own family, she never lost sight of these ideals. "I decided to offer classes to people from marginalized neighborhoods, training them in handicrafts and forming cottage industries that would work with the region's natural resources. I chose alpaca wool as a medium to make garments."
Cutipa is a much-loved person in Peru. She has participated in many, many craft fairs and has won awards that include the prestigious Hatun Raymi for her designs in alpaca wool. "I love my work, and am thrilled to be able to do what I love most, while at the same time providing a livelihood for my assistants, other women of my country," she confides. "My family works with me. I love the idea of joining forces with Novica and hope you like our work. Thank you!"