Mirasol Project was born with the dream of providing better educational and opportunities to students from the Peruvian Highlands.
The idea behind Mirasol Project is simple: To support the children of communities in Munani, Neque Neque and Mallkini in Puno with their education through the Mirasol School, with the sales of the Mirasol Hand Knitting Yarn Collection and donations from friends and other contributors.
A couple of Norwegian clients, Kari Hestnes and Per Svendsen, former owners of Du Store Alpakka, came to Peru in 2006 and decided to visit the Peruvian highlands. They arrived at Mallkini Alpaca Ranch, owned by Michell y Cia. During their visit, they went on an excursion through the farm, where they met two children: Marisol and Alex, who were the children of one of our alpaca shepherds from Mallkini.
Kari and Per were impressed by the charisma and simplicity of the children, especially Marisol. They found out about the living conditions of the Andean people, especially children. They recognised the conditions and the challenges that children had face in order to attend school and study. They also were shocked discovering that children had to walk every day between 2 to 3 hours to reach their school, and the same time to return home, regardless of whether it was a cold, rainy or snowy day.
Knowing these challenges, Kari and Per were of the idea of building a house where children could stay from Monday to Friday and be closer to the school: this way the y could also develop activities after school. They talked with the Michell family, who shared the same idea and concern.
As a result, “Asociacion Civil Mirasol” was created in 2006, supported by the initiative of Kari and Per, and Michell y Cía. The project was named in honour of little Marisol, but they had to rename because of formal issues.
Michell y Cia transferred an area of 12,200 ㎡ within the Mallkini Alpaca Ranch to start with the Project. Kari and Per were the first contributors and they also pledged to raise funds in Norway. Then, another client, Peter Mulley of Diamond Yarn, from Canada, joined in 2007. They, together with Michell, created the Mirasol Hand Knitting Yarn Collection to raise funds through its sales.
The cause was shared with other customers, with the vision of providing better education and improving living conditions to these children. As a result, other clients joined: Designer Yarns, from the United Kingdom; Fil Katia, from Spain and Knitting Fever from the United States. All of them with Michell agreed to donate a percentage of their Mirasol Yarns purchases to the Mirasol Project.
In 2007, construction of on the Mirasol boarding school started, operating in April of the same year. Initially, it hosted children of all levels of education, from the areas of Mallkini, Munani and Neque Neque. In late 2007 and early 2008, the first stage of what now is Mirasol boarding school was built, initiating activities in March of the same year.
Today, thanks to the committed support of several companies and individuals, the Mirasol Project hosts more than 50 primary students. We are proud of our recent achievements; however, we still have much to do. We hope to continue working together with other companies that share the same vision of improving education and living standards of children in the Peruvian highlands. Also, we hope other customers will join this initiative.
We are proud to see the achievements of these years of work to build the essential infrastructure for the project; see the children enrolled in it; see how they are using the facilities we equipped for them; and, most importantly, to witness how they are improving their well-being, education and living standards without losing their roots and identity.