As we are a women’s cooperative, focusing on empowering women from marginalised indigenous communities in Guatemala, the rights and opportunities of our young women and girls are central to our work.
Trama Textiles was formed in 1988 as a response to the Guatemalan civil war, and the devastating impact it had on our communities’ women and girls. During the war, many men were disappeared or killed, leaving our women without a means of supporting themselves and their families. In order to find a way to earn a living, the women in our communities came together to form our cooperative, and decided to start to sell our weavings as a way to use our skills to support ourselves and our families.
“My children are young and it’s hard to make ends meet. I lost my father and husband in the war. Now it’s only me who supports my nine children. Without the association, my children would have died of starvation.”
Today, the original women of the cooperative are getting older, and their daughters are growing up and starting to weave for the cooperative as well. The organisation provides training for the young women and girls, providing them with the means to make a living for themselves rather than having to rely on the men in their communities to support them. For many women, it’s also an important part of their culture to teach their daughters to weave, so they can carry on the ancient traditions of their beautiful textiles.
“My mother taught me how to weave and that’s my life now. I am teaching my daughter to weave and one day she will be a part of Trama.”
Because their mothers were able to earn money from the coop, that has meant that many of the girls in our communities were able to go to school. As well as gaining an education, this means that they are able to speak Spanish as well as their indigenous language, giving them better work opportunities and a chance for a better future than their mothers.
We believe that the young women and girls all around the world have the right to an education, and to have equal opportunities in terms of work as the men in their communities. Thanks to our cooperative, we are starting to make changes in the right direction in our communities, but there is still a long way to go.
This International Girls’ Day, we’d like to encourage everyone to reflect on two core questions:
- How are the rights of young women and girls in your communities?
- How are you working to help young women and girls achieve their potential and look towards a better future?
Maybe with the answers, we can start to make a difference and change the futures of young women and girls all around the world.
You can support us by visiting our Etsy store, to see some of our amazing handwoven fair wage accessories and homeware, made by the women in our 100% worker-owned weaving cooperative.
Stay in touch!
If you’d like to stay in touch, check out our Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We share great photos of our products and the amazing women we work with, as well as all the latest Trama and fair wage news!
Work with us!
As well as our fantastic new paid job, we are always looking for experienced volunteers to come join us here at Trama. We have some great opportunities, and don’t charge any fees for our placements. Check out what’s available now on Idealist.org.