Despite the peace agreements of 1996, which formally ended the 36-years of civil war, the Mayan people remain a marginalized people in Guatemala. They are the poorest, have little political power, and face severe ethnic discrimination on the labor market and in society at large. Their culture and traditions are often disdained. In addition, Guatemala is known as a very women-unfriendly society; in fact, this country ranks among the highest in the world as regards violence against and murders of women. The persistent political corruption and impunity in Guatemala compound to the double drawback of Mayan women in Guatemala. Generating a fair income from the culturally-defined artistic weaving technique that this group traditionally masters, Y'abal Handicrafts aims to enlarge these women's self-sufficiency - and their self-esteem. As a specific project within this general pursuit, Y'abal-Ecological particularly plays into the global trend, and need, towards greater sustainability - and thus enlarges the income opportunities and improves life standards for this marginalized group.
The project "Y'abal-Ecological" aims to expand our collection with ecological products through training of the 80 female Y'abal-producers in natural dying of the yarn. This includes offering the various weaving cooperatives proper training in dying yarn with natural materials; providing materials to practice yarn-dying and weaving new fabrics; develop new products, in cooperation with local tailors, with the naturally dyed yarn; and promote and sell the naturally dyed products on international markets.
To improve the weaving techniques of the 80 female beneficiaries and thus increase the market potential of their products, increase their income and self-sufficiency and improve their living conditions and future prospects.