Monday, 17 December 2007

Wall, Luxury Fibre Clothing Company, supports young people in Peru

Hernán and Judith Balcázar founded Wall, a luxury fibre clothing company, in 1997. Both their online catalogue and boutique in London’s Notting Hill attract a wide-ranging, worldwide client base.

Truly natural fibres are becoming an increasingly rare commodity. Wall works with several different fibres, including long staple Peruvian pima cotton, pure Irish linen, silky alpaca and super fine vicuña, which feel exquisite next to the skin and retain their quality for a very long time.

The company is underpinned by Hernán and Judith’s personal experiences of living and working in Peru. An important decision in starting the business was to do something that could create more employment in Peru.

“From what we saw charity could not create the same benefits as work. Job opportunities and education are very important,”
- Hernán

The company works as much as possible with small, family-owned businesses. It aims to give people a sense of pride in their work and enable them to educate their children.

It also endeavours to improve conditions in the supply chain, requiring all its suppliers to abide by a “code of conduct”. In order to do business with Wall, suppliers must ensure safe working conditions, fair wages and a harassment-free work environment for their staff.

Wall’s current community project is to offer 2-year vocational training placements to disadvantaged young people in Lima. The young people will receive a fair wage throughout the two years and by the end of their placements, will have ample experience in the textile industry.

In early December, Judith Balcázar and other Wall representatives interviewed a group of candidates for the first placement. The Colour of Hope is delighted to confirm that, Natali, the candidate we put forward, won the selection process and will shortly become Wall’s first sponsored trainee! (See photos)

Natali grew up in Canto Grande, a shanty town on the outskirts of Lima. She spent most of her childhood on the streets, and at 17, became pregnant with her son, Luis. Since Luis was born, she has struggled against all odds to care for him, selling sweets on the roadside, busking and begging on buses. She works long hours, day in day out and earns less than $2 a day.

But now, thanks to Wall and The Colour of Hope, Natali will have the chance to escape the poverty trap and to improve living conditions for her family. She is set to start her placement with Wall in January 2008 and will participate in The Colour of Hope’s employment preparation and life-skills courses and until then. Congratulations Natali!

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