Hannah Bishop ’15 spent her summer in the Andes of Peru where she interned with Awamaki, a non-profit organization that works to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being in collaboration with the greater community.
Awamaki was founded in 2009 to support a cooperative of 10 women weavers from Patacancha, a rural Quechua community in the Andes of Peru. Since its founding, they have grown to include other programs in economic empowerment, education and skills development, and sustainable community tourism.
Bishop, a comparative literature major, interned in Awamaki’s marketing, media, and communications division. The position allowed her to work on a wide range of activities that spanned over other organizational areas, similar to what she compares to the interdisciplinary liberal arts aspect of her HWS education.
“Coming from a liberal arts background definitely made it possible for me to work on a large array of projects because it’s allowed me to study such a wide array of topics,” Bishop says.
During her internship, Bishop also worked on booklets about weaving and the town of Ollantaytambo, where Awamaki is based. She drafted flyers and materials for English classes, took photographs of the women who are a part of the cooperatives and their capacity-building workshops, and creating outreach materials to be used for marketing. Working for a small NGO is what she believes has allowed her to work across so many areas of the organization.
“It’s enabled me to work on projects ranging from writing about the natural dyeing process to designing tourism materials about weaving,” Bishop says.
At HWS, Bishop has pursued a diverse array of activities on campus, like working as a student photographer for the Office of Communications, which helped prepare her for the “photography-related” projects at Awamaki. She also participates in Geneva Heroes, Koshare, and jazz ensemble.
“Taking portraits of the artisans or taking shots to be used in printed materials was very similar to the work I do as a student photographer,” Bishop says.
In Peru, Bishop traveled extensively. She participated in a weaving immersion weekend in Patacancha, where one of Awamaki’s weaving cooperatives is located, and also traveled to Parobamba, where she took part in a natural dye workshop with Awamaki’s master dyer. One of the most interesting trips for Bishop was traveling to Machu Picchu.
“Last summer I interned at the National Geographic Society where I worked with Hiram Bingham’s photos of Machu Picchu,” Bishop says. “It was really interesting to see it in person after seeing the photos from 100 years ago.”
Bishop says she would like to pursue a career that blends photography with all of the areas she’s studying.
“Working in a foreign country has helped me achieve so many of my goals,” Bishop says. “It’s been really beneficial to see how a small NGO operates, and it’s shown me that there is such a wide range of careers that are related to my studies.”