What is MayaWorks?
MayaWorks is a nonprofit social venture that supports Maya women as they end their cycle of poverty and achieve economic security. We partner with Guatemalan artisans by providing markets for their handcrafted products primarily in the U.S. and Canada. MayaWorks believes that community development happens through economic development of women. When women earn an income, they reinvest 90% of their earnings in their families and villages. Mothers educate their children, take them to the doctor when they are ill, and improve their family’s nutrition. They also contribute to the betterment of their villages by supporting water projects, building schools and organizing community health programs. We are certain that the benefits of having ongoing work are not just financial. When women use their traditional skills to earn an income, they become self-sufficient and develop confidence and hope for the future.
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How did MayaWorks start?
MayaWorks started in the early 1990s when an American woman doing volunteer work in Guatemala was approached by a group of Maya women. They asked if she would take a suitcase of their handmade goods back to the United States and sell them. After many trips to Guatemala and many woven textiles sold it was apparent there was a market for Mayan handcrafted goods in the United States.
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Who are MayaWorks artisan partners?
MayaWorks partners with approximately 125 indigenous Maya artisans in the Central Highlands of Guatemala. They make up six talented producer groups. Each group has their own unique story and skill set. Some groups excel at weaving, others at sewing, embroidery or crochet. Each artisan group is responsible for creating different MayaWorks products.
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How are MayaWorks artisans supported?
MayaWorks uses a fair trade business model. We pay artisans a fair wage and provide additional support through skills and literacy trainings, microcredit loans to start small businesses and scholarships for the daughters of artisans to attend school.
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What does it mean to practice Fair Trade?
MayaWorks practices fair trade principles which include paying our artisans a fair wage in the local context, creating long term relationship with artisan partners, ensuring that artisans work in safe and healthy working conditions, engaging in environmentally friendly business practices and much more.
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