Monday, May 6, 2013

Butcher Style Aprons

Amarilis, Maria and Lety graduated from the Mayan Families Sewing Program in 2011 have been  making since then several items with their sewing machines, such as skirts, blouses, curtains, aprons, lavender hearts, among other products. Maria has also been participating with Aldea Maya (Sanitary Pads) an income generating activity; she makes reusable flannel sanitary pads for many of the young girls sponsored at Mayan Families.

They are also the ones who make the butcher style aprons and have made different styles, using different tipico fabric for the apron pockets, to make each of them unique. The new style that they have made is with adjustable straps, so you can adjust them to your size, as needed. We have some at our exposition room, where you can also find all sorts of items made by other artisans, graduated from the sewing project and mothers from your sponsored students.

These aprons are made with lots of care and love. We are now hoping to find buyers that are interested in this product, a product that is very practical and has a Guatemalan touch. Ideal for those who love to have a little bit of Guatemala at home. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rosa Coj an example to follow

Rosa Coj

Rosa was a single mother whose child was born with hydrocephalus.  Rosa cared lovingly for the child until she died at the age of 2.  Rosa was grief stricken for a year but has decided to go back to school to help put her grief behind her and to improve her life.
Rosa wants to study to be a nurse or a bilingual secretary; she is now studying Bachelor in Science with medicine orientation.

In her free time she makes guipiles (traditional Mayan blouses), back strap weaving fabrics, beaded jewelry, among other products and activities. She works very hard, often staying up at night, so that she can get an income for her studies and to feed her family.

Fabric from Peña Blanca

She is now involved in a project with Mayan Families and Living on One, where she is making back strap weaving fabric from Peña Blanca. This piece of fabric is going to be part of a pocket on t-shirts, that are already selling very well. There has already been a big demand on these t-shirts, were all profits go to projects for Guatemala. We have already sent the first piece of fabric, that has been approved and already have a second order for her and other women in Peña Blanca.

This project will be giving the opportunity to generate an income for women from Peña Blanca, women that are so enthusiastic and has so much energy to learn and get on with life so they are able to help their families and their community.

You can get more info about the project following this link:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Saying goodbye to the women in the sewing project

Yesterday was my last day at Mayan Families, it was really emotive, specially with the women. I did not expect such a warm and emotional goodbye from them. These women are so special, and just some words and a hug was more than enough for me to keep in them in my heart. Some of them from San Jorge which I have been working with for several months, looking, measuring, and checking the quality of the fabrics, sometimes I felt I was a little bit hard on them, but it has helped to improve their work, and been able to make such beautiful bags. There were really thankful for all these months of work with them. Working with these ladies, has proven that women can also do a very good work and generate an income for their families, just looking at the energy they have everyday to become better and better, makes me feel so happy.

Another group that has graduated a few weeks ago, from Sololá, now involved in another bag project, where they have to make more than 1000 bags, and just received their new sewing machine, they were also really grateful for our time spent with them and all the support that Mayan Families has given them.
Just listening to each of them, was really charming, and I did not need more. I really thank Mayan Families for giving me the opportunity to help out in their Sewing Project and was able to make so many women happy.

I believe in these women, and I am pretty sure they will get far. Just seeing their energy for everything they do, and wanting to learn every day all sorts of different things, such as computer science, embroidery, knitting, women’s empowerment, among other activities and workshops that we have been organizing for them, and they have always participated, gives me the faith to believe in them.

You as sponsors have also made their dream come true, by sponsoring these women and donating sewing machines and other items for the project. We also believe that we will continue getting more support from everyone for this project, that helps women to believe in them selves, and get out, work, and help their families.

I believe in the project, and I think it will get far, with your support and Mayan Families staff that will be continuing with the project. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sewing machines from the SEWING MACHINE PROJECT have arrived


73 machines from The SEWING MACHINE PROJECT have arrived to Mayan Families offices. It was really exciting to open the big boxes and see what was in them, machines, fabrics, and other sewing materials. Now we will be able to give out some of these machines to the women of Sololá, which graduated last December 2012.
There are also three more groups right now, participating in the sewing classes with Don Alberto, learning how to use the sewing machine, some of them will be graduating soon, so they will also be able to receive their machine very soon.
We warmly thank the constant support from the Sewing Machine Project and for this wonderful donation, so many woman will be able to continue to practice their skills, and have an income for their families.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Women Empowerment Workshops

Women formed by the theater group Las Poderosas under the Convention Peacebuilding in Guatemala have emerged from their own short life stories.

Mayan Families Foundation was the ideal place to project four of eight short films from the CD "Returning the waves to the sea", a creative work from the life experiences of Mayan women and violence in their communities which now we can see the rewards from it.

Graduates from the Sewing Project, attended as part of their educational process that composes the program. Groups from Panajachel, Solola, Tierra Linda and San Jorge are those who have been participating in the program and many came with a clear objective, sensitized and the union of women to strengthen themselves.

About 30 women gathered around the patio of the Foundation with excitement and eager to share with their peers. For two hours there was laughter, tears and knowing glances.

Testimonials like "women should fight for space", "violence destroys our self-esteem and our dreams" and "the man wants the woman to remain in the house and in the kitchen, does not want us to go to training courses" repeated over and over, in order to seep inside each one of them.

The Foundation has several programs that work with women, this activity will continue to promote, to improve the situation of these women and their family.

Thanks to MPDL (Movimiento por la Paz, Desarme y Libertad), we have been able to make this workshop possible.

You can see the Spanish version of the note here:

Friday, March 1, 2013

New sewing group

Mothers and/or sisters of your sponsored students have iniciated the eighth sewing course in Panajachel. Thanks to your sponsor these women are able to improve their lives by learning to use a sewing machine, learn a new skill, promote the habit of saving money, and train them with live skills. These mothers are really enthusiastic with learning new things every day. Through the use of a sewing machine these women are able to produce more items in less time, and have a higher quality products, wich increases their selling merchandise. 

Guadalupe, Lucia, Heidy, Josefina, Lucía García, Juaquina and Francisca are mothers or sisters of sponsored students that have now started the sewing classes.

Here some of the new students attending the sewing classes

Damaris and Estela, have also signed up to participate in the sewing course offered by Mayan Families, but still need a sponsor. Unfortunately we are not able to offer the sewing course for free as it includes a teacher, the space, and materials.  The women who sign up know are aware that they have to collaborate in order to participate.  Your support is an integral part of their kids educational success.

Our Sewing Project promotes Income Generating Activities (IGA) and the economic advancement of women by teaching them this vocational skill. Our goal is to train women in using a sewing machine to promote economic security of the participant, her family and her community. We also promote the transfer of skills within the participants, promote the habit of saving money, and train participants with life-skills. This is truly a special opportunity for these moms and we are very excited that they have chosen to participate.

If you are interested in donating, the cost for the course is $75 dollars and you can follow these instructions:

1.    Follow this link:
2.    Enter $75.00 in the "other" box
3.    Write "Sewing Class" in the "details" box
4.    Click Submit form

Thank you again for all of your support for these families! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sanitary pads to help girls stay in school

No study for days, no income for days, no going out, no access to hygiene.. This happens every day to young women here in Guatemala. You can do something about that by donating some sanitary pads. Our goal is making sure that each of them can have their own washable, colorful, effective feminine solutions.

For Guatemalan girls it is too expensive for them to buy disposable products, or they may not even be available at all. This problem affects young girls in schools. There are thousands of women in need of these basic items that we consider necessity.
Some girls stay home from school when menstruating (missing a week of school every month) or drop out completely once they reach that age. If they cannot afford disposables (or there are none available) they have to use whatever they can find.
A single mother of three, a graduate of the Mayan Families Sewing Program, makes these environmentally friendly sanitary pads.

These cloth pads, are more cost effective than disposable products, as they can be reused for many years, safer for the women’s body and designed to make life more confortable.
Gladys helping her mom make the pads
This is a joint project between Mayan Families and Aldea Maya. Each package contains 4 pairs of underwear, 12 flannel outer liners and 14 flannel inner liners for the cost of $25.
For more information you can contact us at

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Knitting Classes

This month we have been teaching the women how to knit; with Jacky’s Jerabek wonderful volunteer help during her visit here in Guatemala, sharing her knitting skills with the women around the lake. Jacky has been here every morning during a week and a half working hard with the women from the Sewing Project.

Knitting in Guatemala is not very common, as the yarn is expensive and not easy to find. But thanks to a donation that we received a few months ago of knitting needles and yarn, we have been able to make this workshop go along and work with 10 women from the Sewing Project. The women where very enthusiastic in learning this new trade and to be able to use these donated knitting needles and yarn.
The idea is to teach them how to knit so they can make things for themselves or to sell, to provide them a small income for their families if they want. Of course, using Guatemalan fabric, that makes the product more original.
Jackie with one of the final works that Ana Cecilia gave her as a gift.

Teaching the different stitches.

Jackie and Ana Cecilia

Jackie's last day, with part of the group.
We have now another friend, Malini that is continuing the work with these women, every Tuesday and Thursday for a couple of weeks more, so they can continue practicing, learning, and making new items.

We are always happy to receive new volunteers, so they can also share their knitting skills to these women.