We are a fair trade organization founded in 1989 and currently working with about 200 women in eight Guatemalan communities. These talented weavers, embroiderers, basket makers, felters, and crocheters, produce beautiful, high quality items we are proud to offer you.
For more than three thousand years, working on the backstrap loom, Mayan women have woven their own and their families’ clothes as well as produced items for sale. The ancient backstrap loom is very simple, made up of several sticks and a leather or sisal strap that wraps around the woman’s body. It requires painstaking dedication and skill. With some complex patterns even expert weavers can weave only about one inch of cloth per hour.
Through the centuries, Mayan women have made an important cash contribution to their households by selling handwoven goods. At present, however, there are nearly one million weavers in Guatemala, and not close to enough outlets or customers for their products. Too often, desperate for cash, they sell their products for less than it costs to make them.
All over the world, Mayan weavers are recognized as talented textile artists, but most of them live in conditions of extreme poverty. Mayan Hands’ mission is to assist these women in their quest to rise from poverty. Working with fair trade, the women can count on a modest and regular income. With an income, they feed their families better, send their children to school, improve their homes and even save a little. Selling their handwoven textiles at a fair price, the women are gaining control over their lives.