Guatemalan Women's Cross Generational Development

Nov 7, 2012

Opportunities for Economically Marginalized Women

Artisans of San Marcos
Artisans of San Marcos

MayaWorks works with over 125 low income indigenous women in the central highlands of Guatemala. 70% are from extremely poor and remote hamlets of the Chimaltenango and Sololá areas.

Artisans tend to marry very young and, on average, have six children.  Many are single mothers working to support large families on their own.  Most have not completed their primary education.   40% are illiterate.

Our artisan partners are not organized by cooperatives but rather by local weaving groups. They share leadership and, together, decide who will be a part of their group and what products they will make.  MayaWorks has worked with the same 8 weaving groups for over 16 years.

MayaWorks’ Guatemala operation is completely managed by indigenous women since its inception.  These administrators understand the complexities of doing business in Guatemala, speak the artisans’ native language and live in the same communities as the artisans.  More importantly, they are driven by their desire to see indigenous women progress in a country where they are often regarded as less than second class citizens.

MayaWorks believes community development happens through the economic development of women who otherwise have limited ways to contribute to the development and economic stability of their families.  Giving women an opportunity to earn an income from their skills gives them self-confidence and hope for themselves, their children, their family and their village.



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Berwyn, IL, United States

Project Leader

Jeannie Balanda

Executive Director
Chicago, Illinois United States

Where is this project located?