Handmade by Mayan Artisans
Welcome to the new A Thread of Hope Guatemalan Fair Trade website!
We are starting off listing only scarves. More products will be added over time. If you want something that you do not see here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Point to “STORE” above to get started.
Support Our Projects
A Thread of Hope and Asociación Maya are working with Building Goodness Foundation (BGF) in Charlottesville VA to raise $500,000 to construct a new headquarters, showroom, and weaving center for the co-op. The co-op has already invested over $50,000 in purchasing the land and in architect and engineering fees, and has committed to invest another $50,000 in the project. Building Goodness is an impressive organization with great values and people.
The project will provide a safer, larger, facility where the co-op can:
- have enough space to at least triple its production capacity and thus its ability to provide more well-paying work for its member weavers and other staff;
- have an appealing space for a retail store, wholesale showroom, and education center, near an established tourist destination, thus increasing retail sales and overall earnings;
- provide a lunchroom/presentation space for tour groups to have a traditional Guatemalan meal while learning more about the co-op and its community—weaving, the history of the co-op and its local communities, Guatemalan socioeconomic conditions, Mayan culture, and rural Mayan daily life. Through building a network of tourists who feel more connected to the co-op, the women hope to develop “friends of Asociación Maya” who will contribute to scholarships for their children and sponsor community development projects;
- provide meeting space for indigenous women to participate in workshops about women’s health, healthy relationships, healing from trauma, medicinal herbs, co-ops, business management, and many other topics;
- have room for tourists to participate in week-long hand-dyeing and backstrap loom weaving workshops while living on site with staff;
- provide workers with a safe dormitory to avoid arduous daily commutes home; and
- offer a safe, structurally sound, energy-efficient building for workers and customers.
This video includes an interview with the architect.
Panajachel Colegio Internacional (PCI) is a unique and important non-profit school in the Lake Atitlan region of the western highlands of Guatemala. I have had the pleasure of serving as the board president of this wonderful school for the past eleven months. My partner Dan previously worked at the school for over four years, teaching math, science, and technology, including robotics and Advanced Placement Physics and Calculus.
PCI is the best junior and senior high school in the Lake Atitlan area. When PCI started seven years ago, it served mainly expat families who could pay full tuition. Now almost 95% of the 70-student population is Guatemalan, and more than 75% of these are indigenous.
PCI provides a trilingual (English, Spanish, and Kaqchikel) education. For those entering without sufficient English, PCI has a full-time ten-month English Language Learning program. Core classes (English, math, science and social studies) are co-taught by a native English-speaking teacher and a Guatemalan teacher. Students receive extra help as needed after school. The student:faculty ratio is less than 6:1. Class size is from 5 to 15 students. (Most Guatemalan schools have classes of 35-55 students.) The school day is from 8:30am-4pm, compared to the standard five-hour Guatemalan school day.
PCI graduates attend universities in Guatemala, other countries in Central America, Europe, Canada and the U.S. They study medicine, law, engineering, environmental sciences, biochemistry, public health, astrophysics, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, finance, economics, and more.
Last year the school funded over $40,000 in scholarships, directly out of its operating income. This year 65% of our students receive full or partial scholarships, totaling $60,000.
This year we visited dozens of families’ homes as part of our process of awarding scholarships. A number of families had all but given up on their straight-A student being able to continue in school, let alone attend an excellent school. We awarded full scholarships to deserving children whose parents do day labor, earning $5 per day when work is available. Without this support, these children would have dropped out of school after sixth grade and gone to work in the fields to help support their families. Instead, these students will continue with their studies and make a real difference in their families and their communities.
100% of your contribution goes toward scholarships.
And visit the PCI website to find out more.
By supporting PCI, you are helping to:
- break the cycle of poverty
- empower indigenous communities
- educate Maya youth to be tomorrow’s leaders
- sustain a challenging multi-cultural learning environment
This year’s fundraising goal is $60,000.
Click on the button below to make a tax deductible donation through PCI’s U.S. nonprofit, AGES Foundation.