Asociacion Maya de Dessarrollo, Solola
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Cooperativa San Antonio Palopo Co-op
We buy many of our cotton scarves from this cooperative of men and women weavers on Lake Atitlan. The men weave using foot looms, and the women weave using backstrap looms and foot looms.
Creaciones Chonita employs a group of widows and young women in Santiago Atitlan to make beautiful beaded jewelry. When the group makes a profit, they save part of the money in a scholarship fund for the education of their children. They also give basic living supplies to the elderly widows, and support the medical expenses of all members as needed.
Nancy Dunitz works with women around Lake Atitlan to create innovative designs in beaded and macramé jewelry. The beaders are treated with respect and work in a safe and clean environment. In addition, women with children to care for can work in their homes. Nancy supports and contributes to "Pueblo a Pueblo", a community based charity that funds the local hospital and aids in other grass root projects. This organization has been instrumental in helping many people after the devastation caused by Hurricane Stan in October 2005.
La Casa Guatemala
Since 1995, La Casa Guatemala has been exporting Guatemalan handicrafted products. Working with artisan communities around the country, their goal is to generate sustainable, optimum-income-producing crafts production, including new opportunities for existing artisan groups and training for incipient groups. They are very involved with the Zero Hunger Campaign in Guatemala, and have trained groups of women in remote rural villages to produce beautiful weavings and other crafts. They work with artisans who weave, sew, make pottery, leather items, wool, as well as furniture, glass, and more. They sell to Oxfam Australia and other clients around the world.
Mayan Hands is a Fair Trade organization founded in 1989. They work with ten groups (about 230 women) who live in rural communities in the highlands of Guatemala. Mayan Hands works with the women on designing products that are marketable in the US. They also offer opportunities to the weavers in many areas, including scholarships and school supplies for their children, home improvements, micro-lending, training in new skills and techniques, as well as classes in gender awareness, domestic violence, conflict resolution, and herbal medicine.
Ruth and Noemi
This group began as a widows and orphans group. They started with a grant to buy 100 chickens. With the surplus money from selling eggs, they bought thread and started to weave. A local minister was a part-time tailor and he taught the boys to sew after school and the project grew out of this. UPAVIM and now A Thread of Hope help them to get their products to the US where they can get a fair wage for what they make.
Senovia began a beaded jewelry business to employ a number of women in Santiago Atitlan. She has a knack for creating beautiful designs.
UPAVIM (Unidas Para Vivir Mejor – United for a Better Life) is a cooperative of about 80 women who live in marginalized communities on the outskirts of Guatemala City. UPAVIM began making simple crafts to help pay for the Healthy Babies program in 1991. Since then, the craft program has developed into a successful export business that won a national prize in 2001 for non-traditional textile exporting. The profits from craft sales finance daycare, Montessori preschool, and the K-6 school, and partially subsidize the pharmacy and medical clinic, including a prenatal clinic and healthy babies program. UPAVIM also provides about 435 scholarships and a tutoring center. With the goals of making all of their community programs sustainable from additional income generating projects, UPAVIM has constructed the "Annex," a second-four story building that houses various projects, including a soy milk production facility, a bakery, store, and an internet/computer/typewriting school.
Women of Panabaj
This is a cooperative of weavers, embroiderers, and beaded jewelry makers affected by the mudslide that covered the town of Panabaj after Hurricane Stan in October 2005. The women weave thick material on small foot looms, and then make them into wallets, bags, guitar straps, belts, and clerical stoles.They also make beautiful beaded jewelry.