Mayan Hands is a fair trade nonprofit organization dedicated to providing economic and educational opportunities to Mayan women so that they can bring their families out of extreme poverty as they continue to live within the culture they cherish. We believe that when provided economic and educational opportunity, women can build sustainable futures for themselves, their families and communities.
Mayan women are the most marginalized sector of Guatemalan society, with few opportunities for an education or earning a living. Even though they are renowned as textile artists the world over, lack of alternatives and fierce competition forces them to sell their products at very low prices, sometimes under cost.
We partner with more than 200 women artisans in 15 communities in the Guatemalan Highlands. Working with fair trade for 30 years has brought a sea change in the lives of the women we work with: they speak out, resist domestic oppression, and, counting on a regular income, have more control over their lives. Their families eat better and all their children go to school, including the girls, some even to the university.
In addition to paying fair wages for their work, we provide other support to our artisan partners, such as training in new skills and techniques and product design, business and leadership development, occupational health and safety workshops, as well as programs in gender role awareness, domestic violence, and conflict resolution. Like the women we work with, we are especially excited about Mayan Hands Education Fund, which provides scholarships to the daughters of our artisan partners and school supplies to all children.
Through your fair trade purchase of their fine handmade products, you too are connected to our remarkable artisan partners and help to keep their rich cultural traditions alive.