Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

Fair Trade Jewelry & Ethical Fashion

Stories of Hope in Guatemala – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Read Time: 5 min.

Empowering Women in Rural Villages in Areas of Extreme Poverty

In Guatemala, women struggle through abuse, poverty, and heartache. But these women are now becoming proud business owners! By utilizing their traditional skills, they are able to create beautiful products that reflect their culture.


They can provide for their families at home rather than leaving in search of work and can also send their children to school to pursue their dreams.

Upcycled Huipil Artisans

Traditional Guatemalan Fabrics Providing Sustainable Income for Women in Rural Villages

Upcycled Traditional Mayan Fabrics, Huipil and Tipico (1)
Upcycled Traditional Mayan Fabrics, Huipil and Tipico

Artisans in Guatemala Upcycle Traditional Mayan Huipil and Tipico Fabrics

Clara’s Story of Hope

For years, Clara’s job kept her from being with her family. Then she built a workshop in her home so she could work with her husband and have more time to spend with her children.

When other parents from her village still needed to travel far away to earn enough income to feed their families, Clara invited them to become Artisans in her workshop, making fair-trade fashions from upcycled traditional Guatemalan fabrics. 

Now these parents can feed their children, send them to school, and enjoy spending time with their families.

Clara, Artisan in Guatemala in her home based workshop

Michelle’s Story of Hope

Michelle, Bunny Backpack Artisan in Guatemala

Michelle dreamed her entire life of becoming a teacher – a challenge for any young woman. But in Guatemala, where many women in rural traditional villages still experience extreme gender discrimination, neglect, poverty, and domestic violence, this dream is out of reach for many women.

Handcrafting our Bunny Backpacks makes it possible for Michelle to pay for the education she needs to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. She earns enough income during her workweek to provide for her needs, help her family, and devote her weekends to studying.

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Huipil & Tipico Artisans

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10 Ways to Change the World with This Adorable Bunny Backpack - Clara Blog

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Helping Women in Guatemala Become Financially Independent

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Martha & Rosa’s Story of Hope in Guatemala

Martha & Rosa’s Story of Hope in Guatemala

Traditional Beading Artisans

Creating Work-at-Home Jobs for Women in Rural Villages

The heartbeat of Trades of Hope began with a desire to help mothers keep their babies and care for their families well.

Dolores and Dolores’ Story of Hope

Dolores and Dolores are giggly, determined, and incredibly loving cousins who both became widows at a very young age. Living in a small lakeside village in Guatemala where gender discrimination, poverty, and lack of job opportunities make it extremely difficult for women to earn enough income to become financially independent, they decided to join forces to raise their daughters together and give them better lives.

Their love for beading and embroidery has become a source of sustainable income and security for their families.

Every purchase of their beaded handbag charms, like Giraffe Handbag Charm, helps them feed their children and provide them with safe housing and education. But the best part of their jobs as Artisans is being able to work together from home and have more time to spend with their daughters.

Antonia’s Story of Hope

Antonia lives in a small lakeside village in Guatemala where gender discrimination, poverty, and lack of job opportunities make it extremely difficult for women to earn enough income to become financially independent.

She handcrafts beaded charms using the traditional skills and techniques that have been passed down for generations by local women in her community.

Antonia’s work as a beading Artisan allows her to earn income at home while doing something she loves and enjoys!

Working from home also makes it possible for her to spend more time with her husband and two children, instead of traveling long distances in search of work.

Every purchase of her beaded handbag charms, like Lola the Llama, helps Antonia feed her children and provide them with safe housing and education.

Concepción’s Story of Hope

“After the horrible storm in 2005, we lost our mother and went to live in temporary government housing, along with our brother and four nephews.

We had lost everything – our home, our mom, and our livelihood.

That’s when we met these Artisans and they introduced us to beading. Maria taught us everything we know. Without our work as Artisans, we would be farming the land and selling what we grow.

It would be much harder because sometimes there are problems growing crops and we could go hungry.” – Concepción

“Being an Artisan is much more consistent. We can work at home with our families around us. The more work we have, the more we learn and earn to keep our family safe and fed.

– Concepción, Artisan in Guatemala

Want a sneak peek into this outdoor village workshop in Guatemala?


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Beading Artisans

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Juana Maria, Jaspe Backstrap Weaving Artisan in Guatemala

Sebastiana’s Story of Hope

“Being part of the Trades of Hope family is a blessing in so many ways, especially during COVID-19.

We thought we would have no work, and we were scared and worried about how we would survive.

Thanks to all of your orders this year, we have thrived and our whole family has been able to continue this new way of life.

We are so thankful!”

– Sebastiana, Artisan in Guatemala

Sebastiana, Artisan in Guatemala

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Fingerprint Jewelry Artisans

Opportunities for orphans and vulnerable girls to be emotionally supported, educated, taught to dream!

In Guatemala, many children come from homes with abuse and families who cannot afford them. Through your purchase, you’re partnering with an Artisan community where young women are emotionally supported, educated, taught to dream, and provided with opportunities to learn and grow as businesswomen through jewelry apprenticeship programs and English classes!

Erica’s Story of Hope

“Before working in this workroom, my life was different. I trained as a teacher but there weren’t teaching jobs available. I didn’t know what I was going to do. There was much uncertainty.

But now, thanks to their classes and what they’ve taught me about work, I’ve improved my ability to think about the future and manage everything well.

I dream of becoming a businesswoman. This Artisan company has given me a salaried job and entrepreneur training.

I run the production in the Workroom and am responsible for keeping the team on schedule with shipments.” – Erica

“I live on my own. I don’t have to depend on others. I can buy the things that I want and need, and I can pay for my studies. When I visit my family, I can bring them things they need. They’re proud of me!” – Erica, Fingerprint Artisan in Guatemala

Yasmin’s Story of Hope

“Without my job as an Artisan, I would have tried to go the U.S., because it seemed like the only solution. The classes offered by my Artisan community have been interesting and helped me know I can open my own business someday.

Becoming an Artisan has also helped me in my personal life. For example, I know how to make things and sell them. I have learned how to save my money. I can buy my own clothes, make up, and whatever I want. I bought my first telephone! Now I can watch videos about how to do my nails and make up and watch fashion!”

– Yasmin, Fingerprint Jewelry Artisan in Guatemala

“I want to have a beauty salon and sell clothes and other home designs. These are my goals!” – Yasmin, Artisan in Guatemala

Update: We recently received an email sharing the amazing news that Yasmin graduated from the Entrepreneur Training program provided by this workroom in Guatemala. As an Artisan in this workroom, she became the first salaried employee in the history of her family. When she turned 18, she moved on from creating jewelry for this workroom to become their HR department manager. She is now in her final year of cosmetology school and plans to continue pursuing her dreams of owning a salon and spa when she graduates! We’re cheering you on, Yasmin!

Elida’s Story of Hope

“In my community, most people work in agriculture. My life is different because I’ve had the opportunities to study and have a different kind of work.

I began studying as an apprentice and grew in my talent to become an Artisan.

As an Artisan, I’ve learned how to live a more ordered life, I’m more positive, creative, and responsible.

I can buy my own clothes and take care of my son. I can pay my own bills.

My dream is to build a house with my husband, to watch my son grow, and give him a good education.

Right now, it’s hard because of the pandemic. But I hope, as our sales grow and we heal, this will be possible.” 

– Elida, Artisan in Guatemala

Ethically Produced 100% Premium Guatemalan Coffee Artisans

Helping Families in Areas of Extreme Poverty Thrive

Trades of Hope Natalia Blend Coffee is Ethically Sourced from Guatemala

Pablo, Sara, & Natalia’s  Story of Hope

During our stay at the ICU with our daughter, Natalia, we witnessed very difficult stories with other families and babies.

As a family in Guatemala, we were blessed to have medical insurance and private hospital attention. But other families during our visit didn’t have the same story.

Our hearts broke several nights as we saw babies and families entering the hospital due to an emergency and leaving the next morning as they could not afford the hospital.

There was a dad who even tried to get a bank loan, but he wasn’t able to get it, so they left to a public hospital where conditions are not the same. In fact, you can get even sicker.

“Because of that experience, Sara and I decided to create a fund through this Natalia Blend Coffee to help babies in Guatemala receive the care they need in ICU.”

– Pablo & Sara

What would you like to see these Artisans make next?


Originally published June 25, 2021.

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.
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