Microloans Help Guatemalan Women Reach Their Goals

 
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Lili loves to spend her time weaving
Lili loves to spend her time weaving

Lili Carmen Osorio lives in the Central Highlands of Guatemala high up in the picturesque town of San Juan Comalapa, a place famous for its painters.  Lili has been weaving since she was a little girl.  Now, women from all over the highlands come to her to commission the beautiful guipiles she is famous for.  Lili has perfected a complicated weaving technique called "marcador" or double-sided brocade.  Only master weavers care capable of creating weavings that are identical on both sides.

Lili uses her MayaWorks microloan to expand her weaving business.  She's bought thread in bulk, purchased a new, larger loom and equipped her looms with heddles.  Because of her growing business, Lili is able to send all three of her children to school, provide them with the necessary nutrition to keep them healthy and suport her family when her husband is out of work.

Her weaving work not only allows Lili to care for her family but it also makes her feel fulfilled.  She knows that she is contributing a valuable service to her community while doing something that she loves.  Lili especially enjoys weaving when she is at home surrounded by her family.

Thank you for supporing MayaWorks microloan program.  Your donations help more women like Lili realize their dreams.

Margarita and her sewing machine
Margarita and her sewing machine

Hello friends of MayaWorks!  I'm so pleased to report that 27 women are benefiting from MayaWorks microcredit loans.  They're using their loans for every venture under the sun from selling vitamins to raising pigs!  Our loan recipients are happy and they are making money!  And this means there is more income to provide better food for the family, send children to school and take care of elderly parents.

Our field staff just visited the women in San Marcos La Laguna who recently received microcredit loans.  The reports were very positive. Very few of these women have ever had loans in the past so they received more training and supervision and it has paid off.  These projects, which include belt-making, corn crops, and lumber sales, are going well and are expected to make the women a profit.

We are grateful to our supporters who continue to make these projects a reality for Maya women. ¡Mil gracias!

MayaWorks has funded 11 new projects in the San Marcos La Laguna community totaling $5,000 in micro-loans.  Because they live on the shores of Lake Atitlán, a popular vacation destination, most women will use their loan to purchase materials to weave products to sell to the tourist market.  Others plan to use their loans to plant coffee seedbeds and then sell the seedlings to local farmers.

We feel the way to fight global poverty is to focus on women because we know, when women earn an income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families. These projects are made possible because of donors who are committed to the economic development of women.  Thank you again from the field!

Raspberries harvested from a microcredit project
Raspberries harvested from a microcredit project

We recently returned from a fabulous trip to Guatemala where the weather was 70 and sunny every day!  Quite a difference from last May when tropical storms pummeled the land of eternal spring! 

Every year in February MayaWorks takes a group of social justice-minded people to Guatemala to visit our weaving groups, see our education programs and learn about microcredit first hand from loan recipients.  Our friends have the opportunity to speak directly with women who use their microcredit loans to purchase everything from land, to seed for crops, to livestock, to raw materials to create natural cleaning products.  These chats with the women are always a highlight of the trip.  North Americans are amazed at the ingenuity and resilience of indigenous women and are impressed at how they use their profits to further invest in their projects which, ultimately, allows them to put better food on the table for their families and send their children to school.

There are always challenges, though.  Because crops were destroyed by the terrible storms, women are in desperate need of corn, the staple in the Guatemalan diet.  To respond to this need, in the coming weeks MayaWorks will distribute corn to the families who lost their crops and will continue to provide assistance until all families are back on their feet.

Thank you for your support of our microcredit program.  It goes a long way in helping women to become financially independent and take better care of their families.

Tour participants visit a project
Tour participants visit a project
New blackberry crops planted after Agatha
New blackberry crops planted after Agatha

I recently returned from Guatemala where I had the opportunity to meet with many of the women who lost their microcredit projects to Tropical Storm Agatha.  The resiliency of these women never ceases to amaze me.  They have replanted their crops and are tending to them with great care.  Soon they will have blackberries, green beans and potatoes that they will either sell in the local market or export through an intermediary.  

We know that when women have access to income, they invest it in their families and villages.   In the face of adversity, women persevere so that they can put healthier food on their tables, take their children to the doctor when they are ill and send them to school. 

We are all transformed when women come together to make the world a better place!  Thank you for caring about the economic development of women in developing countries.  May you and yours have a happy holiday season!

Women meet to discuss how to rebuild projects
Women meet to discuss how to rebuild projects

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Organization

MayaWorks

Berwyn, IL, United States
http://www.mayaworks.org

Project Leader

Jeannie Balanda

Executive Director
Chicago, Illinois United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Microloans Help Guatemalan Women Reach Their Goals