Total loan: $4,475
Las Chicualenses Group
Chichicastenango, Departamento El Quiche, Quiché Department, Guatemala / Arts
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A loan helped to purchase various high quality of thread to make clothes.
Las Chicualenses Group's story
The traditional “traje” (pronounced “tra-hay”) or traditional dress of the native Maya of Guatemala is among the most colorful and beautiful in the Americas. It is a visual expression of their identity, and can reflect their ethnicity, gender, politics, wealth and nationality. Each town prizes its own unique designs and many consider those from the large town of Chichicastenango to be among the most intricate and exquisite. They are handmade and very durable. Chicua is a small, poor community near the town. Men, women and children face daily struggles to survive and move forward in their lives. The seventeen hard-working women of the Friendship Bridge Trust Bank, “Las Chicualenses” have a vision for a better future, and look forward to their monthly meetings. They are currently requesting a new loan from Friendship Bridge, which will be their second loan cycle. The women’s average age is 33 years and they have a very low level of education, with only a few having attended elementary school. Most do not write or speak in Spanish. The ladies have large families and are committed to providing for their children. They realize that education is a real key to a more successful future. The Secretary for this loan cycle is 24 year old Antonia. As is customary for unmarried women in the rural, indigenous communities of Guatemala, Antonia lives with her parents and siblings. She was only able to attend school until she reached the 4th grade. Since childhood, Antonia has been using her talents to embroider and weave. Currently, she owns an embroidery business and makes beautiful sashes and blouses. As her business is growing, Antonio decided to apply for her second loan with Friendship Bridge, which she will use to purchase various high quality thread. Antonia will plan carefully as she wants to take advantage of the special orders that she has received. She anticipates more sales as the holidays approach. As Antonia works with her sister, the loan will become working capital for both of them. This is especially important as her sister is currently going through a divorce and needs to support herself and her own children.