Maya Traditions Journal > empowerment

Artisan Spotlight: Catarina Flaviana Tambriz Carillo

Posted by on July 31, 2015

Catarina Flaviana, 58, is one of our lovely and talented artisan partners from the cooperative Qato Q’ib in Chirijox, northwest of Lago Atitlán. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with her and talk about her life and work in the cooperative. Catarina has raised eight children and is a proud gandmother to three little boys. Her two oldest daughters are married and now living with their husbands’ families. When she was only 12 years old, Catarina started to learn how to backstrap weave. Her mother, who today still practices the art of backstrap weaving, taught her all of the elements of the weaving process; starting first with the

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What Makes Maya Traditions Special: An Interview With Our Staff

Posted by on May 15, 2015

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Guatemala and meet Maya Traditions’ artisans, staff, and volunteers in person, you know that you have found a remarkable place. This month, we asked our incredible staff what makes our work at Maya Traditions special. Here is what they had to say: ‘Maya Traditions has strong, long-lasting relationships with artisans and works to support them as whole women not just artisans.’  ‘We convert the needs of our artisans into opportunities, offering them the training and tools necessary so that they themselves can change thier own situations. For me, that’s true empowerment.’   ‘We are a foundation

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Celebrating Fashion Revolution Day

Posted by on April 24, 2015

Two years ago today, the Rana Plaza collapsed, leading to the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history.  1,133 workers lost their lives and over 2,500 others were wounded. This event exposed the harsh realities of the garment industry that many of us have heard about, but chose to ignore. It also spurred an international movement and conversation about who is making our clothes and the conditions they face at work every day. We at Maya Traditions are excited to be a part of this movement by celebrating and preserving the art of backstrap weaving and by providing an alternative, ethical

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A Letter from Our Director

Posted by on April 13, 2015

Time flies, yet I feel like time flies even faster in Guatemala. This March marked my second year working with Maya Traditions Foundation. It has been a long, often arduous journey, but one that has lifted my spirits and filled me with indescribable happiness. When I first began with Maya Traditions in March of 2013, I knew I had become part of a very special organization, one that is dedicated to fulfilling its mission through highlighting the gift & skill of others. This became clear early on, during a site visit to the rural community of Quiejel. We traveled two hours

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Youth Education Program Update: Carmen

Posted by on April 08, 2015

Maya Traditions Foundation partners with individual donors to support students–the children of our artisans–to attend university. Due to the high cost of inscription and monthly fees of university, many indigenous families are unable to send their children on to university. We are working to increase our impact and the amount of university scholarships we are able to offer. Here student Carmen Tzoc Portillo, daughter of artisan Magdalena, shares with us a bit on her life and her studies.  Hello! It is a pleasure for me to share with you the progress in my studies. This year I am very pleased to

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What Happens When Two Cultures Unite Because of an Old Pair of Jeans?

Posted by on March 12, 2015

What did you do with your last pair of old, rugged jeans? Artists Mark Vennegoor and Rebeca Vennegoor-Solares, a couple from Holland, came to Maya Traditions to implement a unique pilot project that gives new life to old pairs of jeans, “The idea of this project is to raise awareness of the clothes we use. In the Western world, it’s very common to buy clothes and throw them away, there is no connection to or appreciation for our clothes. The concept of the project is to change this habit, and combine the pants with the Maya culture, to give these

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Artisan Development Program Update

Posted by on March 10, 2015

As a part of our strategic plan, we are working to enhance our Artisan Development Program. Program Coordinator, Isabel Chalcú, is spearheading this project and excited to share some of what she has been working on. The current focus of the Artisan Development Program is to learn more about our artisan and better understand their needs. Working with the majority of our artisans for over twenty years has shown us how their needs are constantly changing. In order to strengthen our relationship with them and understand how they view their current quality of life, Isabel, with support from local university intern

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Enhancing Lives Through Social Media

Posted by on February 20, 2015

“How many hours do you spend on Facebook, or Instagram or browsing through the latest twitter posts? According to the Business Daily, the average American spends 23 hours a week scrolling through news feeds, watching videos and liking posts through various social media platforms! This is staggering information, but it points us to a very true reality: social media provides the opportunity to connect like never before. The only problem is, with so many businesses using social media to educate consumers, it can be challenging to make your business stand out”. Hey there! My name is Sarah and I am

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Empowering Artisans & Healers Through Tourism

Posted by on February 09, 2015

Maya Traditions Foundation has been partnering with local NGO Entremundos to further develop and strengthen our Community Tourism Program. According to the First Principle of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), a Fair Trade Organization must focus on creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers. Our workshop series with Entremundos does just that, further providing economic generating activities for our artisans and healers. Through our connection with Entremundos, our artisans and healers learned how to create a business plan, administer a basic community tourism plan, and how to treat visitors, whatever the cultural differences may be. The ultimate objective of this

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Annual Artisan Meeting – Exciting Opportunities for 2015

Posted by on January 29, 2015

On Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, Maya Traditions organized our annual artisan meeting with representatives from each cooperative. Artisan Development Coordinator Isabel Chalcú shares her thoughts on the meeting: Each one of our cooperatives is an important part of Maya Traditions Foundation. For she, the artisan, represents the essence of our work. Each year, we work harder, facilitating market access and increasing our educational programming, with the mission to empower our artisans and improve the quality of their lives.  To start off 2015, we held a meeting with two representatives from each cooperative. Our objective was to understand and analyze our

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