MayaWorks

MayaWorks' mission is to empower low-income indigenous women to end their cycle of poverty and improve their lives. MayaWorks trains artisans to transform their traditional weaving skills into a means of financial support for their families. Volunteers in the U.S. sell artisan products creating a market for the traditional arts of Maya women. This collaboration creates an opportunity for Maya women to achieve economic security and for North American women to participate in economic justice.
Sep 29, 2014

Beautiful Tapestries Created from Microcredit Loans

Juana models one of her huipiles.
Juana models one of her huipiles.

Last year Juana applied for a microcredit loan to purchase thread to weave huipiles for the local market.  Huipiles are the beautiful hand woven shirts indigenous Maya women wear.  They are woven on a backstrap loom and can take months to complete depending on their complexity. Juana also used the thread to weave table linens for the tourist market around Lake Atitlán.

Her $400 loan allowed her to purchase enough thread to get started with some commissioned huipiles.  It also allowed her to purchase some old weaving equipment that desperately needed to be replaced.

On a recent visit to her home, she proudly showed off her hand woven items.  She was most proud of her thread supply which she keeps locked up because she says her granddaughters like to help themselves to her thread!  

We're proud to say that Juana just paid off her loan.  She continues to weave huipiles for other women and hopes to spread her business into neighboring villages.  We have no doubt she will apply for another loan when she is ready to expand her business.

Juana prepares the threads for the loom.
Juana prepares the threads for the loom.
Juana keeps her investment under lock and key.
Juana keeps her investment under lock and key.

Links:

Sep 22, 2014

The Power of Perseverence

Josefina
Josefina

Josefina is 19 years old and just beginning high school.  She hopes to become a teacher one day and help students just like her, students who struggle to stay in school because of circumstances beyond their control.

Josefina's education has been interrupted many times.  When her parents had the money to send her to school, they would.  Often times they just didn't make enough money to spare the expense of her schooling.

But Josefina and her mother worked hard to assure she would complete her studies.  Josefina's mother never went to school and she very much wanted her daughter's story to be different from hers.  A story that ends with Josefina having a steady job that brings her enough income to be independent and contribute to the social fabric of her community.

Josefina's mother began crocheting kippot for MayaWorks.  With the income she earns from selling her yarmulkes, she helps Josefina with school expenses.  She is also planning to send Josefina's little sister to school when she begins kindergarten next year.

A few years ago, Josefina began crocheting kippot herself to earn an income to help her parents with the family expenses.  She has been able to stay in school regularly and will graduate in three years with a teaching diploma.  Josefina has a bright future ahead of her.  She is smart, kind and a leader in her community. She will truly be an inspiration to her students!

Josefina and her mother
Josefina and her mother
Josefina
Josefina's little sister, Mirian

Links:

Jun 27, 2014

MayaWorks Funds New Loans in the Hamlet of Xetonox

Drawing water for crops is not an easy task!
Drawing water for crops is not an easy task!

MayaWorks has funded three new microcredit projects in the mountain hamlet of Xetonox, near Tecpán, Guatemala. Xetonox is known for its fertile volcanic soil which is why most of the projects we fund in this region are for planting crops.

Our long-time artisan partners, Vicenta, Marta and Santos, each received $500 to plant vegetables.  Vicenta and Marta, veteran gardners, have used their microcredit loan to plant green beans while their neighbor, Santos, has planted peas and broccoli.  

For the next three months the women will care for their plants by watering, fertilizing, and thinning them until they are ready to be harvested.  Once harvested, the women will sell their crops to buyers who will export them largely to the United States.

MayaWorks has found that planting and selling crops are lucrative income generating projects but they are also subject to high risk because their success is directly tied to weather.  The rainy season has been very heavy in Guatemala so far this year.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that these new projects will be successful for Vicenta, Marta and Santos!

Links:

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