Photo Courtesy of Naguska
We had the opportunity to connect with Gina Gallegos Tenorio, a mother and an artisan working with Naguska, a wonderful social enterprise in Peru. Learn more about Gina’s story below.
My name is Gina Gallegos Tenorio. I was born in Laramate, a village in the city of Ayacucho, in the mountains of Peru, on May 26, 1966. I am the third of six children, the daughter of peasant parents. I arrived in the city of Lima at the age of eleven; there I completed my primary and secondary studies. I became a mother at the age of 19; I have four children.
I joined a mothers club at the age of 32. The club announced a knitting contest. I did not know how to knit, but I wanted to compete. Two days before the contest, I approached an elderly woman selling knits on the street and asked her to teach me her craft. I spent several hours with her knitting on the sidewalk. I made a baby blanket. By the time I got home, I had forgotten how (to) cast on and bind off the yarn. When I got home, I unravel(ed) the blanket. I spent most of the night trying to replicate the stitching and patterns I had learned earlier in the day. I learned by trying (and) correcting my numerous mistakes.
I entered the contest with that blanket. I got second place among 23 participants. From that moment on, I became eager to learn more about the process and technique. I decided to leave my position in the mothers club … to focus on knitting. With six of my friends, I formed a knitting group of which I lead. In 2008, we were put in contact with Naguska. There I met the ladies Fina and Maria José. They introduced me to the world of hand-knitted dolls. I have learned a lot over the years, and today I can affirm that there is no doll impossible for me to knit.
As a result of the opportunities Naguska has provided me, I’ve been able to build a better future for my family. I have been able to meet my children’s needs and improved the quality of their lives. They have all finished their studies. I also appreciate the support and flexibility Naguska provides the other mothers in my knitting group. We are able to earn an income without neglecting our children.
Photo Courtesy of Naguska
What is your favorite aspect of your role as a mom?
I would give everything for my children. My favorite aspect of being a mom is being able to share everything with them. I enjoy dedicating myself to them, (caring) for them, (and) supporting them in school progress or their careers. I love being there for them through their sorrows and joys, their failures and achievements, and the most important thing for me is to help keep a close relationship with one another.
What do you enjoy the most about your occupation?
I really enjoyed teach(ing) the mothers in my group. I’m happy to be able to spend time with them and share my knowledge. It motivates me to work harder.
What positive effects has your work with Naguska and The Little Market had on your life and that of your family?
I feel happy and proud when I see a finished doll. I feel fulfilled seeing what I can achieve and also knowing that I can help other women and their families, as well as my own.
On the other hand, what I earn at work helps me support my children’s education, improve my house, etc. Knowing that I can pay my expenses gives me a lot of peace because I always work, this gives me economic independence.
What is your favorite product that you make for The Little Market?
My favorite doll is the zebra. I love the design and it is an animal that I would love to see in person someday.
Who has been a source of inspiration in your life?
My children, because all that I have done has been for children. They have valued and validated my efforts. They have managed to finish their studies and become professionals and I am very proud of them. They are my motivation to keep going.
What are you most proud of, personally and professionally?
I am proud of what I have achieved: to start with nothing, from scratch, to be the leader of the weaving group. Having persevered until mastering the dolls knitting has paid off.
We loved learning more about Gina and her family. To see our collection from artisans like Gina at Naguska, visit our site.
A special thank you to Gina, Maria José, and the Naguska team for contributing to our Mother’s Day series!