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Buy Fair Trade and be a part of the economic empowerment of indigenous women.
Read more about the impact your purchase/ contribution has on the lives of indigenous women and thier families.
Dana Geffner, Executive Director of Fair World Project - June 2012
‘I started working with Maya Traditions Foundation (Fundacion Tradiciones Mayas) over 10 years ago when I first started to educate consumers about Fair Trade. Maya Traditions mission is to empower and improve the quality of life for Maya women artisans and their families in Guatemala. I met Jane Mintz, the founder, through the Fair Trade Federation, the US Fair Trade membership organization for fully committed companies in the U.S. I invited Jane Mintz to speak at one of the events that I was coordinating to educate US consumers about challenges Indigenous people around the world face in their daily struggles to survive and what her organization was doing to help support woman and children in the highlands of Guatemala. Not until I visited Guatemala a year later to learn more did I realize how deep her commitment was to help create sustainable communities throughout Guatemala for weavers and their children.
Maya Traditions is located in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala where tourism and expats live amongst the Indigenous population. Throughout the highlands Indigenous woman are struggling to feed their families and put their children through school. Maya Traditions is helping these communities by working with artisanal cooperatives and small family businesses. They are providing product development through design and color trainings with a strong focus on quality control to help differentiate their work in a marketplace that is swamped with cheap weavings made through exploitative means from throughout the region. I loved to visit when a color workshop was happening. All women from different communities would come together to learn about color combinations that they weren’t use to, and to expand their horizons on what western cultures are attracted to. The quality of Maya Traditions products were like nothing found in Guatemala. Often people would try to copy the quality and the designs. Occasionally Maya Traditions’ designs would make it to the streets of Panajachel to sell to tourists but the quality was far inferior. The high quality the artisans created by working with Maya Traditions is a testament to the woman’s loyalty and desire to create a more sustainable future for themselves and their children.
When I was running my own Fair Trade business and selling handicrafts from fair trade groups around the world Maya Traditions products always ranked the highest on my inventory sales list. Not only was the quality impeccable, the story made it an easy sell.’
Renice Jones, Co-founder of Global Crafts, September 2012
We have been buying from Maya Traditions since 2009 and have been astonished at the consistency and high quality of the handmade products. Our experience as a fair trade wholesale business had primarily been in Africa and Maya Traditions educated us on the meticulous skills required for backstrap loom weaving and other indigenous Guatemalan handicrafts. The products, which are made with high-quality thread and dyes, show a sense of style while maintaining traditional methods, making them a bright spot in a market crowded with textile products. The stunning new designs we were shown when we last visited Guatemala were those of the weavers, the result of color and design workshops funded by Maya Traditions. Educating the women in all facets of production including sourcing materials, calculating the cost of goods including their labor and setting prices is making Maya Traditions an organization committed to sustainable production and fair trade. We are thrilled to be a part of a success story in the making.