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!
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.
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!
This has been the rainiest season in Guatemala in 60 years. The torrential rains have caused mudslides, rockslides and complete washouts of rural communities. Homes have been destroyed, automobiles have been buried under tons of mud and crops have been lost.
Unfortunately, most of MayaWorks' food projects have been lost to flooding. Currently, we are assessing the damages but we are confident that our loan recipients will bounce back from this setback. To aid our communities in getting back on their feet, MayaWorks has distributed well over 4,000 pounds of rice, beans, cereal, sugar and corn to community residents. Families, whose homes were damaged by the storm, will receive financial assistance to repair walls, roofs and floors. They will also receive aid to replace personal property lost in the terrible storms.
And, of course, we will stand by our families when they are ready to replant their fields!
While MayaWorks artisans were deeply affected by Tropical Storm Agatha, thankfully they are unharmed and no microcredit projects were lost!
In the weeks following the devastating storm, MayaWorks distributed more than 4,000 lbs of emergency food supplies and is currently helping artisans rebuild damaged homes and replant crops. Despite setbacks caused by Tropical Storm Agatha, artisans are eager to pursue income generating projects and are looking forward to the opportunity to apply for low interest loans to make their dreams a reality.
Consistent with MayaWorks’ mission to provide a steady income for artisans, the microcredit program exists to help women develop as entrepreneurs by managing other income generating projects. Artisans must complete a loan application that includes a simple business plan. The business plan outlines all expected expenses, a time line of the income generating project and the expected profits. It also includes a simple analysis of marketing and selling expenses. If the project will result in a profit for the artisan, the project will be approved and the artisan will receive her loan within one week of approval and after attending an initial financial management workshop.
During the course of their project, artisans receive quarterly site visits by the Program Coordinator to evaluate how the project is progressing. If an artisan is experiencing difficulty with the project, she will receive technical support from staff members and will be visited more often. Artisans must also attend periodic business trainings to be eligible for further loans.
Women have created a range of interesting projects from crop cultivation to a stuffed animal business to natural home cleaning supplies.
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