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MayaWorks

MayaWorks

MayaWorks is about Mayan artisans - women and men striving to improve their lives. Despite obstacles such as grinding poverty and illiteracy. MayaWorks groups are organized in many Guatemalan villages because of the considerable strengths of Mayan women, their traditional weaving capabilities, their desire to learn modern business practices, and their determination to benefit their families and communities.

MayaWorks is about partnership and global friends - who promote and purchase the colorful, attractive, affordable products of the Mayan artisans. Volunteers who display and sell the items in their local communities provide a critical contribution: a fair trade marketplace through which beautiful craft work can be exchanged for income returned directly to the artisans. Friends of Mayaworks far beyond the Highlands of Guatemala proudly wear and use items made by Mayan artisans.

MayaWorks is about interweaving lives - in spite of apparent barriers of distance, language and culture. MayaWorks provides opportunities for all involved to discover one world through sharing our common concerns for health, literacy, dignity and justice. The singular goal of MayaWorks is contributing to Mayan artisans' economic security by creating substantial and sustainable markets for their products.

What makes MayaWorks Unique?

MayaWorks is much more than just an outlet for Mayan products. The commitment of MayaWorks-U.S. and MayaWorks-Guatemala to the economic development of women and girls goes far beyond the exchange of money for goods made in Guatemala. MayaWorks believes that community development happens through the economic development of women who otherwise have limited ways to participate or contribute to the economic stability of their families. Giving women an opportunity to earn an income from their skills gives them self-confidence and hope for themselves, their children, their family and their village.

MayaWorks returns 65 cents of every dollar to the artisans and 10 cents of every dollar to Technical Assistance, Scholarships and Grants which benefit the artisans, their families and their villages.

MayaWorks provides opportunity and financial support for artisans to gain business and leadership skills. Through meetings and workshops, sponsored or paid for by MayaWorks, artisans build their business expertise.

MayaWorks is committed to the promotion of information about Guatemala through regular communication with volunteers and distribution of information at sales of MayaWorks products.

Through MayaWorks tours, U.S. women are introduced to the Mayan women who create the products sold in the U.S.. In the hearing of the life stories of the Guatemalan women and visiting in their villages and homes, U.S. women strengthen their commitment and return home to promote MayaWorks with increased passion and dedication.

How We Sell the work of MayaWorks Artisans

MayaWorks products are primarily distributed and sold throughout the United States by a vast network of volunteer sellers. These volunteers have sales in their churches, schools, community craft fairs and in their homes. Many of our products are also sold in shops and stores that believe in and promote the Fair Trade policies.

Scholarships

MayaWorks believes the education of young Mayan girls is critical to the economic development of communities. These young women will become the primary caretakers of the next generation, making decisions about the education and health care of their children and the future of their families. Currently MayaWorks provides scholarships to 70 girls in Comalapa, Santiago Atitlan and Agua Caliente. These young women have expressed the desire to become doctors, nurses, teachers, and businesswomen. We are committed to providing some support as long as these future leaders are in school.

Microloans

Microloans are helping the families of MayaWorks' artisans to improve their day-to-day life. Small loans help buy pigs and chickens, bulls and strawberries, avocados and sewing machines. The artisan with a microloan can expand the family income in a significant way. This often means a woman can stay at home with her children while she weaves. Microloans can make the difference of what food makes up the family's daily diet. Children can stay in school and not be needed to supplement the family income. Microloans encourage an entrepreneurial spirit and create some surprising results. To date, every microloan extended to a MayaWorks artisan has been repaid in full!

www.mayaworks.org