Food For The Poor Donors Empower Women in Guatemala

The women of Sololá, Guatemala, are weaving a brighter future for themselves and their families, thanks to a generous Food For The Poor donor.

In Sololá, a small community of 5,000 about 80 miles west of Guatemala City, slightly less than half the population lives in extreme poverty, earning an average of $1.25 or less per day.

The indigenous women have a rich history of weaving, but the main barrier between a life of poverty and financial independence is access to a viable market.

Now, through a partnership between Food For The Poor, Caritas and Mercado Global, these artisans are learning new sewing and looming techniques, using Mercado Global’s unique designs, to make handbags and other items on a scale that can compete in the international marketplace.

In May, the first group graduated from a technical training program. A total of 289 women have been trained so far; about 60 have received their own floor looms and sewing machines.

“These women have this inner fire and desire to provide for themselves and feed their families. All they need is a market,” said Ruth DeGolia, Executive Director of Mercado Global. 

DeGolia visited Food For The Poor’s Coconut Creek headquarters in August and showed off samples of the handbags, cosmetic bags, totes and home décor items made by the women.

The women have the potential to earn up to $8 a day, working part-time. This allows them to make up to three times the daily rural Guatemalan income and lift themselves out of poverty.

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