Over Five Years of Empowering Maya Women
text and photo by Maya Moore
Thirteen Threads (TT), a Maya women’s education and empowerment project based in Panajachel, Lake Atitlán, proudly completed its first five years of operations this year. What began as an 18-month pilot project designed to provide resources to 16 groups of artisans working with two fair-trade organizations, Mayan Hands and Maya Traditions, has turned into a valued organization in its own right. Today, TT serves over 400 Maya women from 21 rural Guatemalan communities.
The mission of Thirteen Threads is to empower organized groups of indigenous women to bring about changes, through their own efforts, that will alleviate the adverse effects of poverty and improve their quality of life. To this end, TT offers trainings and workshops in four focus areas: new and improved artisan skills; democracy and group organization; health and well-being; and small business skills, including micro-credit loans.
Participants consistently express sincere appreciation for the skills and knowledge that TT has given them. Over the past year, TT has offered sewing classes, a soap-making workshop and rug-hooking training using recycled cortes and huipiles. TT’s three community facilitators continue to make monthly visits to each group. This year, the focus has been on group administration for self-sufficiency, including themes on division of responsibilities, management of funds and resolution of conflicts.
TT, as an organization, is growing, as well. An ambitious proposal for the next three years has been developed, presenting a variety of innovative ideas for transitioning into a more democratic and sustainable operation. TT hopes to continue to inspire others and is thankful for all of the dedicated support that it has received for this ever-evolving project.
Used laptops, projector, funds to make a film about the project.
For more information on how to volunteer or donate, please visit the Thirteen Threads website, www.oxlajujbatz.org. You can also find the latest project updates on Facebook and Twitter.