Since our founding in 1989, Mayan Hands has been guided by the principles of fair trade. We are a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation, a community of North American businesses dedicated to fair trade. We undergo rigorous screening and strive to create positive change through all of our work: socially, economically, and environmentally. We work with our artisan partners in holistic partnerships built on trust. These relationships go beyond ensuring fair wages and safe working conditions to include environmental responsibility and respect for cultural traditions. Our partnership empowers artisans to strengthen their communities and grow their businesses sustainably.
Mayan Hands is fully committed to Fair Trade Principles:
- Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers Mayan women are the poorest sector in Guatemalan society, being doubly disadvantaged as Maya and as women. Most artisans working with Mayan Hands are monolingual and illiterate, because when they were children only boys were sent to school. This severely limits their ability to earn income. Participation in fair trade provides a path out of poverty to prosperity.
- Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful. We have been working with some cooperatives for more than 25 years, sharing laughter and tears, challenges and prosperity. Through regular visits and frequent open communication, we enjoy strong bonds of mutual trust and respect.
- Build Capacity Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence. So that our artisan partners can improve their skills and their access to markets, we provide opportunities like educational opportunities such as business skill and leadership training, technical assistance like artisan skill development, and financial assistance in the form of micro-loans,
- Promote Fair Trade Mayan Hands Fair seeks to raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system. We collaborate with other fair trade advocates on the local, regional and national level to demonstrate that trade can be a positive force for improving living standards, health, education, the distribution of power, and the environment. Let us know if you'd like us to talk with your group!
- Pay Promptly and Fairly Our artisan partners set prices that reflect the true costs of labor, time, materials, sustainable growth, and related factors. When placing an order, Mayan Hands provides necessary raw materials like yarn so artisans do not incur costs. We then pay immediately upon delivery. With cooperative leadership, we ensure that income is distributed equitably at all times.
- Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Mayan Hands artisans work in their home where they can feel safe and continue their traditional Mayan lifestyle and caring for families. Artisans are organized in cooperatives and participate in decisions that affect them. We support health and safety by offering needed services like eye exams and ergonomic training.
- Ensure the Rights of Children All children have the right to security, education, and play. We respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. Our artisan partners are passionate about education for their children. Mayan Hands offers support in the form of scholarships for girls and school supplies for all children.
- Cultivate Environmental Stewardship Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. With our artisan partners, we reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible. Products like those made from natural dyes and recycled plastic represent innovative solutions to environmental problems.
- Respect Cultural Identity Mayan women love to weave, as weaving keeps them connected to their ancestors, and within the sacred and cultural Mayan universe. Through fair trade, Mayan Hands supports them in their quest to bring their families out of extreme poverty, at the same time that they keep their cherished Mayan culture alive and develop their communities.