We traveled to visit our Artisan Partners in Guatemala in the Fall of 2014. The cooperative that we visited is nestled in a tiny village, called Tzunana, that sits on the shore of Lago Atitlán in the western part of the country. The lake is massive, with enormous volcanoes and tropical mountains surrounding the area. We fell in love with the majestic scenery – it was truly one of the most beautiful countries we’ve visited.

The visit to the cooperative to meet our Artisan Partners was significant, and almost a year later our hearts are still full of love from the warm hospitality and beautiful stories that the women shared. We met the talented women who handcraft our Paz Bracelet, Iztapa EarringsSolola Necklace and Earrings.

A highlight of our visit was learning about the training that the women go through.

To enter the workshop, which is also the home of one of our Artisan Partners, we crossed a threshold engraved with “Los Sueños se hacen Realidad,” which translates to “Dreams Come True.” This marker was accompanied by handprints of each woman employed at the cooperative. The theme poignantly goes hand in hand with the training they receive.

In the training, the women are asked to speak of their dreams, and to draw an image of the future they want to live. The women are so undervalued in their community that they are not accustomed to being heard. This training is crucial in providing agency to the women, and the cooperative provides a safe space for each of them to express themselves, share their value, and make their own choices.

Most of the women dream of the autonomy that comes with a new home, where they can live with their husband and children and not with their husband’s family. They dream simply of independence and a house of their own.

While interviewing Santos, the leader of the group, she said through our translator:

“It is sometimes very hard, sometimes my child is sick and I have to travel to the city. It is hard, but these are my women, and I have to fight for my women and their dreams. I have to be brave… Now we have an income and that is making a huge difference.  We have to try not to look back.  When we look back, we crumble. I tell my husband, we have to just look forward. We have to fight for our dreams.”

We are honored to fight for their dreams along side them and we thank you for your partnership. Together these women are emerging from poverty so that they can thrive.