In the outskirts of Antigua, Guatemala these 3 different women's groups who have all received small business loans from World Vision International. They are comprised of women from the Mayan Tribe. These women are heirs of the long line of weavers and embroiderers. They come from very rural areas in Guatemala and exist off of very little income. Their main product is the Wipil - The large pieces of woven fabric, which they hand weave and create beautiful designs in them, eventually becoming their blouses. After many years, these women purchase blouses from friends and nearby families and sew the material into small items; wallets, bags, totes, hair bands, etc. Our hopes are they can make more smaller items for greater sales on a more regular basis!
Our Financial Administrator, Christine Gross was able to visit Guatemala and the women from Quetzal Crafts. Here's what she experienced:
When we walked into one of the houses, two women were sitting in the yard weaving table runners – the most common item for sale in Antigua. But then they showed us all their items: purses and bags of all shapes, sizes, and designs, pouches, notebooks, table runners, and much more. As they were showing us their things, they were also telling and explaining to us how they had made everything – I could tell how proud they were about everything. It was so incredible to see where the products come from that we sell in our store in Glendora; especially knowing that these specific women’s lives will be changed when we are able to sell their things. But even more than knowing all that, seeing the look on their faces when they saw how much we were buying, made me even more excited.
When the boxes came in from Guatemala and we opened them, I could see the faces behind those specific products. I have always known and heard stories about the artisans behind all the products we sell, but now I have my own specific story about the people we work with in Guatemala. And now every time we sell one of those women’s products I know that those women will be so grateful when they receive their next, hopefully larger, order."
Nely Perez - Designer & project coordinator
Nely began working after school at 9 years old selling dolls to help support her family. Now in her early 40’s, she has her own family to care for – Husband, Edwin, three sons and one new daughter in law. Employing many artisan families of various tribes, many of the products she sells are made of wipils - old Guatemalan blouses. Nely hand picks the wipils and designs her products, branding them with her signature style. Nely’s business is multi-generational. Female weavers and Male sewers from all over Guatemala are employed because of this amazing woman and her business! One man, Tomas – started sewing for Nely over a decade ago and now he has a small workshop employing 4-5 people in his area! 70 year old women are hired to go out into the villages to find these beautiful wipils for Nely so she can design the amazing products for her business. She is in the Artisan Market in Antigua, where she is training her sons and nephew how to run the business. Her heart is to see people come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Her handicraft business is an outreach tool. Nely and her husband are leaders in their church, where they do marriage and family seminars!