Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

Stories of Hope in Mexico – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Discover Their Stories of Hope

Discover how these inspiring women are overcoming extreme poverty in Mexico through preserving the ancient Aztec and Mayan Artisan traditions their families have passed down for generations. Once dependent on tourists to purchase their art in local markets, these women are now able to reach a sustainable global market through partnering with Trades of Hope. Together, these women belong to a sisterhood of Artisans in Mexico who are leading their families to hope for a better future.

(Read Time: 3 min.)

Upcycled Wool Artisans

Abigail’s Story of Hope

Preserving the ancient culture and traditions of her Mayan ancestors, Abigail collects wool from local sheep and then washes and detangles it, using special brushes and a process called “carding”. Once she cards the wool, she spins her wool into thread and then dyes it various colors.
Using a traditional backstrap loom, she weaves the thread into cloth to make clothing for her family and then uses the scraps to sew festive traditional stuffed animals like Tula the Unicorn, Tulum the Dragon, and Clarita the Pig! Each whimsical creature Abigail creates is totally unique!

Every purchase supports her business that supports other local families in her village.

Alicia and Rebeca, Wool Animal Artisans in Mexico

Abigail’s workshop provides safe jobs with fair wages for many of her family and friends, like Maria (left), Alicia, and Rebeca (right).

Traditional Embroidery Artisans

Rebeca’s Story of Hope

As a little girl, Rebeca watched her mom create beautifully embroidered shirts for their family to wear and sell in their local village market in Mexico. Their life was hard, as their single mom raised seven children alone. Their family of eight lived in a very small home, sometimes without enough to eat. The kids started working to sell products to tourists when they were very young.
Rebeca loved helping her mom and learning how to embroider and weave. But Rebeca wanted her mom to rest, so she took over the business when she was only fifteen years old. Now as an adult, Rebeca’s life is much calmer knowing that she has long-term relationships with fair-trade businesses and clients that love her products. She employs fifteen other women, including three of her sisters.

Artisans’ Favorite Mexican Recipe

Photo: Rebeca’s mom, also named Rebeca, serves her mother’s favorite traditional recipe.

Fossilized Natural Amber Artisans

Erica’s Story of Hope

Erica grew up in a family of Artisans in Southern Mexico, including her grandparents, uncles, aunts, parents, cousins! “My grandmother taught me everything I know and through her, I learned everything she knows! She taught me about amber – how it’s energetic and how to find the most interesting and beautiful pieces.

“I love being an Artisan! Every piece I make, I do it with lots of love and dedication. I hope that the people who buy my creations love them and know that this work changes my life for the better, my son’s life, and my family’s lives.” – Erica, Artisan in Mexico

Ancient Amaté Paper Artisans

Maribel’s Story of Hope

Maribel, Amate Art Artisan in Mexico

Every purchase supports her business that supports other local families in her village in Mexico.

Preserving the ancient amate Artisan traditions of her ancestors, Maribel creates beautiful handcrafted paper art from the bark of local trees that grow near her village in Mexico. Maribel lives in an area of extreme poverty where safe sustainable jobs with fair wages for women are scarce. The traditional Aztec paper art she creates helps provide her with the income she needs to be financially independent.

(Originally Published June 16, 2021.)

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1 Comment

  1. Holly Comeau

    Such beautiful work Rebecca


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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.