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 – Traditional Guatemalan Fabrics Providing Sustainable Income for Women in Rural Villages

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.

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

Michelle’s Story of Hope

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.

Rosa’s Story of Hope

“My name is Rosa, and I am from the Chichicastenango (Chichi) department (state) of El Quiché.
Thank you for carrying our products, because for us.
It is a huge help for my daughters and my fellow countrywomen of Chichicastenango, because they also need money to provide for their children’s schooling.
So, I want to thank you all… and Edgar and his wife (Artisan leaders in Guatemala)!
Thank you to you all, thank you, thank you!”
– Rosa, Artisan in Guatemala

Want to know the impact your purchase makes for women in Guatemala?


Traditional Guatemalan Beading – Creating Work-at-Home Jobs for Women in Rural Villages

Dolores and Dolores’s 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.

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 to see how Artisans in Guatemala make our beaded handbag charms?


Jaspé Backstrap Weaving – Empowering Women by Preserving Ancient Mayan Artisan Traditions

Filomena’s Story of Hope

“Knowing the craft of weaving changed my life.

Instead of farming land, which is sometimes very hard physically… and due to bad weather, not great for making money… I can focus on creating.

This allows me to be able to take care of my family, now that I’m the main income earner.

With the work that Trades of Hope has given us, it will help in making my dream come true… to keep my grandchildren in school and maybe one day to have a small store of my own where I can sell my designs.”

– Filomena, Artisan in Guatemala

“My dream was always to find a way to export our products so that people outside of our village could see our work and creations. It’s come true!” – Filomena, Artisan in Guatemala

Want to see how Filomena makes our Laguna Silk Kimono?


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

Want to see how Artisans in Sebastiana’s village make our Jaspe’ Leather Handbag?


Handcrafted Jewelry – 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, Artisan in Guatemala

“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, 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, 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

Rosaura’s Story of Hope

“I grew up with these Artisans.

When I was visiting my cousin, I saw them working and they asked me if I wanted a job.

I’d looked for work for six months and didn’t find anything.

So, I was really glad to get this job! It was a miracle!

Now I live with my friends, I have a savings account, and I take care of myself.

I can pay my own bills. I wasn’t able to do that previously.”

– Rosaura, Artisan in Guatemala

“I would like to have my own business. It would be a small store or perhaps a farm, for chickens and eggs. If I work with my brothers, I believe this is possible. My business training that I learned from this Artisan community is something I could bring to this business!” – Rosaura, Artisan in Guatemala

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.”

– Elida, Artisan in Guatemala

“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 – Helping Families in Areas of Extreme Poverty Thrive

Pablo and Sara’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.

Click on the photos below to explore these ethically made Artisanal products from Guatemala!

Natural plant dyes made from oranges, coffee, cacao, and hibiscus create the unique pink dye in Trades of Hope's Del Sol Kimono.

Why not send holiday gifts that empower families in Guatemala out of poverty?

Human Value of Coffee

Need a totally unique gift idea?

100% Premium Guatemalan Coffee Shipped Fresh from the Farm in Guatemala - Trades of Hope
Click Here to Join Our Coffee Subscription and Never Run Out of Coffee Again! Woman Enjoying Fresh Natalia Blend Coffee.
Muskan, Gather Serving Set Artisan in India
Trades of Hope is partnering with Artisans in areas of extreme poverty in Guatemala to empower women to lead their families out of poverty.
Every purchase of Trades of Hope designs from Guatemala provides skills training and jobs in rural villages that help families thrive.

What would you like to see these Artisans make next?

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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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Trades of Hope is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand that helps women around the world escape poverty and trafficking through our fair trade designs. Learn how you can partner with Artisans around the world here.