MayaWorks coordinates three initiatives designed to help Maya women achieve economic security.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SOCIAL VENTURE
The MayaWorks social venture opens markets for the sale of traditional Guatemalan handicrafts under the Fair Trade model. By selling their woven products, indigenous women have a source of income generated directly by their skills. This income allows women to provide better food for their families, send their children to school, and take them to the doctor when they are sick. When women take part in improving the economic and social conditions of their communities, their self-esteem is increased and they are transformed.
MayaWorks is committed to providing ongoing training to its artisans so that they acquire the skills necessary to make new products. Groups receive at least three capacity building trainings per year.
Products are distributed through two primary channels: retail online and wholesale.
The microcredit program helps women develop as entrepreneurs by managing income generating projects.
Artisans complete a loan application that includes a simple business plan. During the course of their project, artisans receive quarterly site visits by the Program Coordinator to evaluate how the project is progressing. If an artisan is experiencing difficulty with the project, she will receive technical support from staff members and will be visited more often. Artisans also attend periodic business trainings.
Artisans have used loans to plant crops, purchase nutritional supplements to sell in their community, and build a small lumber mill among many others!
*At this time, due to the pandemic, MayaWorks is not currently funding microcredit projects, but we hope to resume our program in the future.
MayaWorks coordinates several educational programs designed to expand opportunities for women and young girls:
After-school academic enrichment programming
Scholarships for daughters of artisans
Forty percent of MayaWorks artisans were illiterate and did not complete their primary education. MayaWorks artisans speak a variety of indigenous languages as their primary language. Spanish is their secondary language. MayaWorks partnered with CONALFA to provide literacy training. Artisans now read at the sixth grade level in Spanish.