A loan of $3,775 helped a member purchase thread to elaborate weavings and embroidery and purchase flour for baking bread.


Artesanas Group's story

The Artesanas come from the tiny town of Xepatuij and hold their weekly gatherings in the nearby city of Nahuala. Their group was formed 6 years ago but new members have been added over time.

The group has now 10 members and their work varies from weaving traditional blouses called huipiles, embroidering blouses with beautiful designs, sewing skirts, baking and selling bread, and weaving and selling the traditional reboso, a square piece of woven material the women use to carry their children and many other items.

The Artesanas women say that in the country, there is enough space to have business going but there is no clean water and electricity. The living conditions are hard. The city of Nahuala has fewer opportunities, but better living conditions. Working in a trust bank gives them the support socially and in their businesses. Besides that, they benefit from the additional trainings Friendship Bridge offers them.

Where there was no reason to leave the house before, their weekly gathering is a way to relax and is something to look forward to. Dominga T. says this helps to deal with their often difficult lives. Since she started attending the group meetings, she has made friends. The laughing and chatting brings joy to all of their lives.

The women of Artesanas sell their goods in the local market of Nahuala. Some of them have customers coming to their houses to place orders for the traditional skirts. Making a traditional skirt can take up to a week of work. At this moment, selling skirts and other clothes is difficult due to the rainy season when there is little demand.

Maria T. claims that most women stopped hoping to fulfill their own dreams; however, thanks to microfinance, now they can dream of creating opportunities for the next generation. One of the ladies proudly states that before there was not enough money to buy pencils, schoolbooks and bus fares. Now that they are working with Friendship Bridge, the children can go to school and do very well.

In this group: Dominga, Pascuala, Catalina, Catarina, Antonia, Dominga, Juana, Tomasa, Francisca, Isabel
*not pictured



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