A loan of $2,175 helped a member to buy fabric for embroidery.

Las Artesanas Del Fresno Group's story

The Artesanas del Fresno group is made up of only women who are very hardworking and responsible. They chose the name because almost all of them make a living in handicrafts (embroidery and textiles), so they're artisans, and "Fresno" is because of their community.

María Juana is an older person. She's very familiar with the origins of embroidery and weaving in the community. She's 69 years old and a widow. She lives alone now, but very close to her children, and she spends almost all day with her grandchildren.

María Juana says that in the past yarn was natural, but that now it's only synthetic. They used to make it themselves. First they washed the wool that came from the sheep when they sheared it. They made linen with the well-cleaned wool, with the help of a wooden implement. Then they wove all this wool thread until they had fabric. Finally they dyed the fabric; the most common colors were black, brown, and grey.

Things have changed, and now none of this is done because the fabrics are of very poor quality. She has been embroidering for 30 years, since her children were little. She says this helped a lot, so she could give her children an education. It also helped with the household expenses when her husband didn't have a job. She sold her embroidery in Ixtlahuaca every Monday. Now she only sells to acquaintances in the community. She's alone and often doesn't have enough money to cover her basic necessities like food, shoes, and clothing. This is why she does this.

She has requested this loan to buy colored yarn, fabric, and needles.

Her challenge is that often her work isn't valued as it was before, and people don't want to pay the true price. She says it's very old-fashioned; it takes several days to do this kind of work because everything is handmade. She makes jackets, backpacks, bedspreads, and sweaters with figures that represent the community such as birds, stars, flowers, etc.

One of Juana's goals is to sell a lot of embroidery to be able to buy corn. It's an essential everyday ingredient, and if she doesn't buy it, she won't be able to make her tortillas throughout the year.

All the members of the group are very grateful for the loan because they'll be able to buy all the materials they need and finish the work they're behind on. Angelina, Leonila, Lucia, Gregoria, María, and María Lucina will invest in embroidery, while María de los Ángeles and Juana Iris will invest in cosmetics.

In this group: Angelina, Leonila*, Lucia, Gregoria, Juna Iris, Maria De Los Angeles Manuela, Maria Juana, Maria Lucina, Maria
*not pictured

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Catharine Wall

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