Saturday, December 22, 2012


Madison Women's Health and The Sewing Project at Mayan Families have been working hardly this year creating this initiative to support women in Guatemala.
This Income Generating Activity is called Weave of Hope. One of the many goals of the project is to promote the economic security of the participants seen here, her family, and her community.
A second goal of this program is to provide newly pregnant patients at Madison Women’s Health clinic with a traditional backstrap-hand woven diaper bag made by Mayan women on the traditional backstrap loom. This free gift from the doctors to their patients represents one of the values they hold dear; to have a positive impact on local communities as well as empowering the women in the highlands of Guatemala that surround the Lake Atitilan region.

Every bag starts as a piece of fabric that has been exquisitely embroidered and woven by hand using the age-old technique of back-strap weaving. The craft of back strap weaving is passed down from generation to generation.

Every piece of fabric, depending on the skill of the artisan or the intricacy of the design can take from two to six weeks to complete. After the fabric is made, it is cut and turned into a colorful diaper bag that is then gifted to new mothers at Madison Women’s Health.

We also have some samples in the shop at Mayan Families so you can see their work or buy to take back home with you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beaded Christmas balls

Handmade beaded Christmas ornaments are a fabolous gift to give just about anyone. At the Mayan Families shop you can find these Christmas ornaments and more, made by the women around the lake, that have also participated in the sewing project.
These ornaments are hand-beaded with intricate geometric designs and finished with beaded strings of shooting stars and other decorations. The round ball Christmas ornament measures approximately 7-1/2" in diameter but size may vary slightly due to the handmade nature of the item. This hand-beaded Guatemalan ornament is made of glass beads and is crafted in a variety of colors including red, gold, and blue. The beaded loop is about 2 inches, enough for hanging on your Christmas tree.
Making beaded holiday ornaments is a great source of work for Maya women. They can bead Christmas ornaments from home which allows them to take care of children and elderly family members while earning a steady income.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Woven Bracelets

Apolonia, from San Antonio Palopó a small village on Lake Atitlan, works making woven wristbands at home. She has now made some beautiful bracelets for Nuestros Niños. It is the first time she has actually done these bracelets with letters; she usually just works with colors, but now she has made these woven bracelets with words. Apolonia has done a great job and now she is happy that she has received an income for this.

Apolonia has five children, ranging in ages 16 to 5 years of age. The youngest, Maria Cristina, 5 years old has a scholarship at Mayan Families and just graduated from the Mayan Families Preschool Nutritional Center in 2012.
We thank Nuestros Niños for making this order, as you know, these families do not have much to live on, and every single little income is always more than helpful for them.

If you would like to order a bracelet from Apolonia, just let us know, what colors and what message you would like on your bracelet, she will be happy to keep learning how to do new things for you.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Artisans products

Artisans and graduates from the sewing program are able to make these items that are also sold in their communities, although some women do travel outside of their village to sell in nearby towns, but, the cost of transportation makes it difficult for the women to access more profitable markets.
Recently we have opened a small store at the Mayan Families offices, so that the artisans can also bring their products. This shop is open to all visitors, so they can buy some typical products from the women and help these women to improve their economy.  
If you are also interested in setting up a market for your group of visitors, please let us know by sending an e-mail to
THANK YOU for supporting this Income Generating Activity with your purchase!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MENDING COMMUNITIES, one sewing machine at a time.

We have received 9 wonderful Bernette sewing machines from THE SEWING MACHINE PROJECT. Thank you very much for this donation! The women will be really happy to receive these. They have been looking forward to this since they have finished their sewing classes. They will be now be able to practice everything they have learned. 

Graduates with the sewing machines
On December 5th these 9 Bernette sewing machines were given to the graduated women. There were two different groups that graduated last September and they were impatient waiting for these to come, as they wanted to continue practicing their new skills learned with Don Alberto, our sewing instructor.
One of the graduates happy with her new sewing machine

Don Alberto explaining how to use the machine

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Group of women from Solola are graduating

This group of women from Solola has been participating in the classes since the end of May, and has finally completed the six month course. They can now manage to use the sewing machine, and make their own blouses, skirts, aprons, bags and more. They have learnt so much here and are very happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to take these sewing classes with Don Alberto, our sewing instructor.

One of the graduates happily receiving her diploma

On December 6th, we were celebrating their graduation. Sharon was congratulating every single woman, and telling them how patience Don Alberto is, as he has been working with her since 1986, so he has also a lot of experience. Sharon also tells them that they have to keep practicing, making things to sell or for themselves, so they do not forget every single thing that they have learned.

Graduates posing with their diplomas

All of the women that graduated after finishing the sewing classes are always welcome to come to visit Don Alberto, for any sewing matter. They can also keep practicing here in the Foundation until they get their own machines.

Don Alberto tells them, that it is not the fact of just receiving a diploma, it is the fact that they have managed to culminate with the six month course, and they have put in a lot of effort and motivation in each class they have been participating.

This group is the first promotion of Sololá, as other times; we have worked with women from San Jorge la Laguna, Tierra Linda or Panajachel. Which we are very proud to teach women from other places around the lake.

Heart project

Four of the graduates from the Sewing Project are working hard making beautiful lavender hearts made with typical fabric. This lavender heart is a perfect gift, when you just want to give something cute to someone and not spend much. These women started just making a few hearts, and now they’re getting more orders. Hopefully, we can continue ordering these hearts from these women, so they can get a little income now and then. They really appreciate every little job and income, especially now at Christmas time and  for the coming New Year.

If you would like to order some of these beautiful hearts with typical fabric, please do not hesitate to contact us at