Meet the Artisans
Casa Hogar Comunitario (Yachil Antzetic)
Their mission is to support the rights of women and improve their capacity in order to help themselves make a positive change in their lives at the same time training themselves critically and creatively as protagonists of social change. In doing so, they promote the integral development of the women and their self-management capacity through the means of lifelong literacy workshops, manual arts, and organic, ecological and sustainable productions.
The cooperative of Mujeres Sembrando la Vida (Women Sowing Life) is a collective of artisans in the Zinacatán region of Chiapas, Mexico that formed in 2008. The artisans’ beautiful weavings and embroidery integrate images from their daily lives, most notably the flowers in the numerous nurseries that are found throughout Zinacatán. In addition to the life-sustaining craft income, a full 10% of all sales is re-invested in their cooperative.
Las Abejas is Spanish for “the bees.” It is the name chosen by the group because working cooperatively makes more “honey.” In recent decades, most of their families were forced off their land. On Dec. 22, 1997, 45 members of Las Abejas, while participating in a Mass for peace, were killed. Collectively, the group continues their struggle for peace and justice while earning a living through weaving and embroidering.
Flor del Campo translates to Flowers of the Field.
“Eight of us began to work together in 1983, having been widowed as a result of the internal armed conflict in our country of Guatemala. Now we are 25 Kaqchikel women who work together to improve our lives.” Concern America helped train these women to run a sustainable business. They now work as their own, independent cooperative, producing gorgeous hand woven items made on back strap and floor looms, using naturally dyed thread.
The cuchareros are a cooperative of rural farmers who were refugees or internally displaced due to the country’s recent civil war. Their gorgeous spoons are hand carved out of the local, naturally hard woods that are native to the humid jungles of northern Guatemala. The woods used are all certified as sustainable, preserving local forests while doubling the income of the cooperative’s families.
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They are a collective of widows and teenage orphans, of the lxil ethnic group, located in the province of El Quiché. In 1990, María De Nazareth was founded, in hopes of overcoming social, political, and economic plight. Their weavings are made on back strap and floor looms, with designs that are specific to San Juan Cotzal. Purchasing their artisan gifts would provide support and life-sustaining income, while preserving traditional indigenous skills that could potentially be lost forever.
The cooperative is made up of 55 Kaqchikel women who live in outlying villages of San José Poaquil, in the province of Chimaltenango. Founded
in 1983, the organization began with the aim of bringing together victims of the violence that had been caused by the civil war. In addition to back strap and floor loom weaving and sewing, the cooperative works for
a more dignified life and the active participation of all group members in activities such as organic agriculture, preventative and curative health, and training and educational workshops.
La Semilla de Dios, meaning “The Seed of God,” is a cooperative of artisans of limited economic resources who make a variety of wooden items painted in the famous La Palma region folk art style. Men do the carpentry, women the hand painting and finishing. The cooperative owns a piece of land in the mountains outside of town where they plant and sustainably harvest trees to supply about 40% of their wood. The income of this cooperative provides better nutrition and educational opportunities for their children.
For over 30 years, Concern America has been purchasing the skillful crafts from this special nonprofit organization. We share the same goals in “organizing the poor, neglected, women and indigenous society by providing them proper training to help improve their economic situations, their working skills, and their leadership potential, regardless of caste, creed and race.”