Green Festival Speakers
Sonia Anahue Uscamayta
Sonia Anahue Uscamayta has been working with the Munay Rumi jewelry cooperative for four years. Sonia was born in the Cuzco region of Peru and spent her youth helping her family take care of their small plot of land where they grew potatoes and tended to llamas. In order to help her family, she moved to Lima in search of employment when she was old enough to work. She met the other members of Munay Rumi while employed at a jewelry factory in Lima, working nearly 80 hours a week (earning only $115 a month). She’d always liked working with jewelry and while the employees were exploited and suffered appalling work conditions, Sonia recognizes that the job helped her learn some basic skills about jewelry making. It was also at this factory, where the managers often locked the doors from the outside so the workers could not leave, that the idea was hatched to break off and start their own business.
Sonia appreciates her colleagues because, as she said, “in the beginning, we were struggling to make money and find customers. When one person would want to give up, the others were beside them and encouraging them to stick with it.” Their dedication has paid off. Munay Rumi’s sales have increased exponentially – nearly 600 times – since they started just four years ago. They have benefited from technical and design training over the past two years by PJT’s Sales Coordinator and jewelry designer, Peggy Eng. These trainings have built a cohesive collection and developed a signature style.