Mexicali Blues is spending February concentrating on restoring our sense of community through acts of compassion and we want you to come along—all the way to Guatemala.
Acts of compassion can build community. Nowhere is that more evident than in the remote highlands of Guatemala. The scenery is stunning but life in these villages is an economic struggle for so many. The Guatemalan Housing Alliance (GHA), with help from Mexicali Blues, is working hard to change that.
In a region where a full day’s work yields less than $4 per day, families need new skills to survive. GHA volunteers gathered groups of women and taught them how to turn traditional cultural patterns and colors into beautiful beaded bracelets for export. The money these women earn from beading bracelets has become a lifeline for their families.
Rafaela is one of those women. She was born in Santa Lucía Utatlán, a small town in Sololá. Her father, a day laborer, worked hard to support his eleven children. But in a region where a day of backbreaking work can bring in only a few dollars, everyone in the family had to pitch in to survive.
Rafaela began working at the age of six. She started by selling food in the streets and taking in sewing—and the work has never stopped. She married at age 15 and moved to Pasajquim with her husband. Just as Rafaela once worked tirelessly to help support her ten siblings, she works just as tirelessly today to help support her four children.
Rafaela wakes at 4 AM to begin cooking the traditional sweets and dishes she sells door to door in town. When she returns home at the end of the day, she starts sewing for extra money—working as late as 11PM. Her husband spends his entire day laboring in the coffee plantations around Pasajquim but earns less than $4 per day. When GHA taught Rafaela how to bead bracelets, they gave her a new way to reach her greatest goal—giving her children an education.
Because she began working so young, Rafaela never had the chance to finish school; she taught herself to read and write. She wants something different for her two sons and two daughters and the money she earns beading bracelets is making that happen.
When Pete and Kim Erskine heard about GHA’s work in Guatemala they knew immediately we had to help. Our World of Goods charitable giving prioritizes programs that build the skills and infrastructure communities need to be self-sustaining. GHA does both by helping women learn beading, providing school classes for village children, and helping villagers build much-needed housing.
We decided to donate 100% of the proceeds and costs from the beaded bracelets made by these strong women right back to GHA. All $8 of each bracelet purchased is donated. This creates a compassionate circle of giving as perfect as the bracelets themselves: the money earned making them supports families and the money used to purchase them supports schools and sustainable housing. Thanks to GHA and our customers, these wonderful women know their community extends all the way to Maine.
The post MEXICALI WORLD OF GOODS: BRACELETS THAT BUILD COMMUNITY appeared first on Mexicali Blues Blog.