With their income, artisans have made their homes safer with improvements like smokeless stoves and solar light bulbs. They’ve empowered their entire communities to thrive by investing in organic farming, water filtration, and business development. Many are now able to send their children to school and return to school themselves.
Marla began as a producer at an artisan cooperative 11 years ago, and is now the leader of a 25-person team.
She is adamant that the artisans on her team bring only positive energy and love to their work making jewelry. If anyone comes to the workshop in a bad mood, she has them step away from their work so they do not transfer their negative emotions into the bracelets.
Marla says, “Behind each bracelet is the dream of a woman. The bracelet tells a story of hope, peace, and love.”
When Marla first joined the co-op, she dreamed that her 3 daughters would graduate from high school. Girls in Guatemala often don’t make it past elementary school. They aren’t thought of as being “worth the investment” since they will most likely get married and pregnant at a young age and leave their family to live with their husband’s family. Marla’s husband was no different in his expectations for their eldest daughter Rocio. But when Marla built a successful business as an artisan and brought in money to her household she was able to make bigger decisions in her home which included advocating for and supporting her daughter through high school. Rocio, who just graduated from college with a teaching degree, is the first young woman in her family AND her village to go to university. Her younger sisters are also in school.
In addition to her children’s education, Marla has also used her artisan earnings to finish her home’s second floor and says there are now many rooms for her family.