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.
Aug 15, 2012

Vicenta of Xetonox

Vicenta is always happy when she is weaving.
Vicenta is always happy when she is weaving.

Vicenta Jutzutz Tetzaguic is 57 years old.  She was born in the village of Panabajal, Xetonox, deep in the valley of Tecpán, Guatemala. Vicenta is a warm and loving woman.  She’s always smiling and has beautiful brown eyes that sparkle.  You would never know Vicenta’s life hasn’t been easy.  

Viventa's parents were poor farmers who could not afford to send her to school past the third grade.  Vicenta learned to read and write a little.  She is the mother of eight children, three boys and five girls, and the “abuelita” of many!  Vicenta and her husband, Jorge, are farmers at heart.  They grow potatoes, green beans and a variety of berries.  With MayaWorks microcredit loans, they have purchased plots of land and seed to expand their farming income.  Last year, the cultivation of potato crops went very well.  With the earnings, the family was able to buy a used car that they use to transport their supplies and tools to the field and their produce to the Tecpán market.

Fifteen years ago, her daughter Marcela met MayaWorks founder, Patricia Krause.  Pat ordered products from Marcela and Vicenta and sold them to her friends in Connecticut.  Vicenta became a regular weaver with MayaWorks.  Soon after, she formed the Xetonox weaving group with other women from the village. 

The opportunity to weave  for MayaWorks helped Vicenta tremendously. She no longer had to leave her children alone to go work in the fields.  Since the time she met Pat,  weaving products has been Vicenta’s main source of revenue.  Her weaving income covers the family’s primary necessities and allows her children to continue studying. Vicenta says the trainings MayaWorks provides artisans have helped her improve her skills and the quality of her products.  Now, she can operate a treadle foot loom, weave ikat fabric and sew, three skills she did not have before becoming a MayaWorks artisan. 

Vicenta is satisfied with her achievements and is grateful for the benefits she has received from MayaWorks.  They have helped not only her, but also her family, her weaving group and her community. 

Links:

Jun 29, 2012

Five New Loans for Weavers in San Marcos La Laguna

Weaver of San Marcos La Laguna
Weaver of San Marcos La Laguna

We are thankful to our GlobalGiving donors for their support of MayaWorks microcredit projects.  Microloans allow women to create income earning projects from the comfort of their homes while caring for their children and elderly family members.

This month MayaWorks funded five new projects in the Lake Atitlán community of San Marcos La Laguna.  All of the women will use their loans to buy thread or looms to weave products for the tourist community that visits Lake Atitlán, considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.  The artisans will create runners, place mats and napkins, shawls and purses all of which are very popular with European and North American tourists.

Earning an income from their traditional skills gives women artisans confidence and hope for the future.  Thank you to our supporters who believe that the economic development of women is the first step in securing safe and stable communities in Guatemala.

Links:

May 15, 2012

Proud to be Self-Sufficient

Maria Teresa and her mother
Maria Teresa and her mother

María Teresa Chipix was born in 1965 in San Juan Comalapa in the highlands of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.  She is the second oldest daughter of eight children.  When she was a child, it was rare to educate a daughter so María Teresa never knew what it was like to attend school.  She grew up not  knowing how to read or write.

At an early age she left her parents to work as a domestic in the homes of wealthy people.  She cleaned their homes and cared for their children.  This work did not provide much income so María Teresa began creating handicrafts to sell to the tourist market.  She learned to weave very quickly on a treadle foot loom and also learned to sew.  With her earnings, María Teresa bought a more sophisticated sewing machine which allowed her to make more complicated products.

When she was 25 years old, María Teresa realized it was important to know how to read and write so she enrolled in literacy classes in Comalapa and, within one year, she was reading at a sixth grade level.  At the same time she was looking for opportunities to expand her handicraft work so that she could make more money to support herself and her parents.

María Teresa joined MayaWorks’ Chixot group.  Chixot makes very high quality finished products such as the MayaWorks yoga mat bag and the Florecita baby booties.  With her income from MayaWorks, she’s been able to build a small home on a plot of land given to her by her parents.  As a single woman, she is grateful to have an income that allows her to support herself and her parents.  It makes her happy that she has been able to do this by herself and to secure her future on her own.  Her goal for this year is to purchase a gas stove!

Maria Teresa sews a yoga mat bag.
Maria Teresa sews a yoga mat bag.

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor is matching all new monthly recurring donations. Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $12
    give
  • $30
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $225
    give
  • $12
    each month
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $225
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of MayaWorks

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about MayaWorks on GreatNonProfits.org.