It is through small actions that we can achieve big change.
In our town of Santiago Atitlan, right on Lake Atitlan in the lush highlands of the country, more than 95% of the population belongs to the indigenous Tz’utujil group. Indigenous women in Guatemala are among the most vulnerable communities, often discriminated against in the workplace, which further exacerbates levels of poverty and lack of education for the younger generation. Typically, the Tz’utujil women of Santiago Atitlan learn the ancient art of weaving on the backstrap loom from their mothers and grandmothers, but slowly this indigenous knowledge is fading as fewer women learn the art of weaving. At Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers, our mission is to preserve this ancient art and make sure that it also serves as a viable source of income to local Tzutujil women.
TOGETHER WE CAN BUILD A BETTER FUTURE
The goals of the project are:
- To preserve the indigenous art of backstrap weaving
- To develop the skills of local weavers so they can attain more economic opportunities
- To offer personal development seminars to Tz’utujil weavers that focus on health, women’s empowerment, and financial literacy
Through professional training and capacity-building workshops, 30 women enrolled in our programs will learn technical weaving skills they can use to find employment and have more autonomy over their financial futures. If these women are economically empowered they can have a bigger impact on their home lives and support their family expenses, much of which will go toward providing an education for their children. Empowered women can impact poverty alleviation, health outcomes, quality education, and gender rights!
WHO WILL THIS IMPACT?
We will run 2 professional and capacity-building courses for a total of 30 women. We will also provide personal development workshops for the entire association of 40 people, which will include educational seminars on topics of health, finance, and women’s rights. We also plan to organize 1 health clinic for the association which will include a doctor’s consult and covered medical costs for our weavers. Overall, this will impact more than 80 people in our local community!
WHAT YOUR DONATIONS SUPPORT
$600 – Will pay for 1 month of capacity-building workshops
$450 – Will provide 1 month of rent for our weaving workshop space
$100 – Will pay for the weaving supplies for 10 women
$75 – Provides 1 week of salary for a weaving teacher
$50 – Pays for 5 urdimbres, or warps, for professional weaving classes
$25 – Provides a capacity-building workshop for 1 woman
- $20 – Pays for a personal development seminar for 1 woman
- $10 – Will provide backstrap loom weaving supplies for 1 woman
Cojolya first emerged in 1983 during the Guatemalan Civil War, a time that was highly dangerous for the indigenous communities of the country. Beyond economic stability, this history of persecution motivates the artisans to pass this tradition of cultural self-determination and resilience onto the next generation. We have a 36-years of experience with community development and completely founded and run by local Tz’utujil people.
Donate now to help us raise the money we need for 30 women weavers to enroll in professional development programs!
There are many other ways you can help our mission to economically empower Tz’utujil women and create awareness of indigenous arts. Beyond donating here and supporting our fundraising campaign, you can also:
Help spread the word on social media and use the hashtag #MujeresDeCojolya.
You can come and volunteer with us. If you are interested in fair-trade fashion, women’s empowerment, indigenous arts consider interning or volunteering with us in Santiago Atitlan.
Buy a hand-made artisan-crafted product from our store and you directly support economic opportunities for our weavers and the continual professional development of our association.
Support and learn about other organizations that are elevating women throughout Latin America through the #GOMujeres campaign!
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