Juanita gets her thread ready to weave.
Doña Juanita is part of the San Marcos La Laguna MayaWorks group. In her community she works as a volunteer health promoter and as a comadrona (midwife). As a comadrona she sometimes receives a little payment that the mother can afford, about $4 after a birth. In 1996 when Doña Juanita became part of the MayaWorks group, her economic situation changed. She receives fair pay for her work and often requests a microcredit loan to grow her weaving business. When she receives payment she divides it into three parts: one part pays for the raw materials to weave; one part buys food for the family; and one part is saved in the bank.
With the money she had saved in the bank, Doña Juanita built a little house for her family. Her father gave her an acre of land to grow corn but the fertile soil was all washed away by the rains of Hurricane Stan so she used the land to build a small home.
Determined to have a less difficult life than her mother, Doña Juanita works hard to support her family and contribute to her community. She is proud of herself and her ability to help other women. When times are hard, women like Doña Juanita are the ones who figure out how to make it all balance…how to keep the children in school, how to keep good food on the table, how to make hope a living word in the household.
MayaWorks supports this balancing act by providing training and technical assistance to expand the skills our artisans already have. New designs and color combinations, building on traditional designs, create new products for MayaWorks customers. New looms, sewing machines and introduction to new threads expand earning capacity. Classes in written and spoken Spanish open a wider world to MayaWorks artisans, encouraging them to sell their handiwork in other markets.
In a very real way, our donors help to eliminate poverty for Doña Juanita and many other MayaWorks artisans, not by handing money to them, but by giving them to opportunity to become economically sustainable through their own work.