TO OUR LA SIERRA COMMUNITY
The global community is dealing with a very uncertain time right now. It is a reminder that we really are all in this life together.
We are reminded how lucky we are to live in Australia at times like these. I am incredibly grateful for the safety net being offered by our Governments for Australia’s workers and businesses. Unfortunately, our artisan partners are not so lucky.
OUR ARTISAN PARTNERS
The Governments in Peru and Ecuador are offering very little or no support to their people. Because many people there live day-to-day, there is nothing to fall back on in hard times. They are all in lock-down at the moment and many do not even have any money to feed their families. It’s hard to comprehend just how different the situation is over there.
Artisans who work from home can continue to work, but they cannot leave to buy materials or to send their products. Others cannot leave their homes to go to their workplaces so cannot make the orders they have. Although we prepay at least half the cost of our orders, and pay the balance upon completion, there is no way of shipping to Australia at the moment, so we won’t have new Winter stock for some time.
I am really shocked by some of the stories that my partner René tells me about his country. Nobody seems to be talking about the number of people who could potentially die, not only from the virus, but because of the economic crisis that is coming with it. The Government is offering a one-time payment of $60 USD, but only to some of the people who have lost their jobs. Other people have nothing at all. We are told that the doctors in Ecuador are not even provided with protective masks and gowns - they have to buy their own from their own resources. Also, some police have been extremely violent to anyone who is out on the streets during the lock-down.
Our friends in Peru are currently under a 15-day quarantine and a curfew from 8pm to 5am. They would be arrested if they were to venture out, even to take out their rubbish. Their government has offered for 'vulnerable families' a payment of 380 Soles (about $180 AUD at the moment), but people don't know who qualifies as vulnerable.
This is a very tumultuous time for the whole world, and as I said before, we are very lucky to be in this country. We will do our best to keep up our support for our artisan partners, but we also just have to survive this challenging time.
When this is all over, we really want to be able to be in the position to continue our business and continue to support our artisan partners.
Given the dramatic decline in our own revenue, there is inevitably a flow-on effect. This is something I never thought I would have asked as a business owner, but we really need your continued support to help us meet our commitments to these wonderful artisans and their families.
Take care, and stay safe and well!