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.
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:

Apr 4, 2012

From Hardship to Happiness

Francisca is happy to have a steady income.
Francisca is happy to have a steady income.

Francisca hasn’t had an easy life.  The fifth of 12 children, Francisca wasn’t able to attend school.  Instead, she and her sisters worked harvesting corn and beans in her village, Agua Caliente, while her brothers went to school.

At 17 Francisca was forced to marry a man she didn’t love.  Her life with him was very difficult.  He was an alcoholic and was habitually unfaithful and did not support her or their children.  Francisca had no option but to move back with her family. Soon after moving back home, the armed conflict in Guatemala began.  Tragically, her father and two of her brothers were killed.  Francisca needed to find work to help support her mother and siblings.

She left her rural community and her children to find work in the city. Fortunately for Francisca she found work as a maid in the home of a weaver. He was kind enough to teach her how to weave on a treadle foot loom.  She was 19 and it was the first time in her life that she ever weaved!  Soon after learning this new skill she returned to her community to teach other women how to weave on the big loom.  She is the first woman in her community to weave products for MayaWorks.  Today Francisca has many looms in her home and has a MayaWorks microcredit loan to cultivate and sell blackberries for export.

 

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