MayaWorks is a nonprofit social venture that empowers indigenous women of Guatemala to achieve economic security by providing markets for their handcrafted products, access to microcredit loans and expanded educational opportunities.
Vicenta Jutzutz Tetzaguic is 62 years old. She was born in the village of Panabajal, Xetonox, deep in the valley of Tecpán. Vicenta is a warm and loving woman. She’s always smiling and has beautiful brown eyes that sparkle. You would never know Vicenta’s life hasn’t been easy.
Her parents were poor farmers who could not afford to send her to school past the third grade. Vicenta can read and write a little. She is the mother of eight children, three boys and five girls, and the “abuelita” of many! Vicenta and her husband, Jorge, are farmers at heart.
They grow potatoes, green beans and a variety of berries. With MayaWorks microcredit loans, they have purchased plots of land and seed to expand their farming income. Last year, the cultivation of potato crops went very well. With the earnings, the family was able to buy a used car that they use to transport their supplies and tools to the field and their produce to the Tecpán market.
Fifteen years ago, her daughter Marcela met MayaWorks founder, Patricia Krause. Pat ordered products from Marcela and Vicenta and sold them to her friends in Connecticut. Vicenta became a regular weaver with MayaWorks. Soon after, she formed the Xetonox weaving group with other women from the village. The opportunity to weave for MayaWorks helped Vicenta tremendously. She no longer had to leave her children alone to go work in the fields.
Since the time she met Pat, weaving products has been Vicenta’s main source of revenue. Her weaving income covers the family’s primary necessities and allows her children to continue studying. Vicenta says the trainings MayaWorks provides artisans have helped her improve her skills and the quality of her products. Now, she can operate a treadle foot loom, weave ikat fabric and sew, three skills she did not have before becoming a MayaWorks artisan. Vicenta is satisfied with her achievements and is grateful for the benefits she has received from MayaWorks. They have helped not only her, but also her family, her weaving group and her community.
Find more information at MayaWorks.
Come visit Maya Works at Madison’s Fair Trade Holiday Festival!