The Beginning of Our Project
In 1986, five women formed a weaving group in Cotzal. They were founded on a philosophy of cooperation and were dedicated to producing high-quality back-strap loom weaving.
After the armed conflict these women were faced with the problem of how to earn money. They decided to make woven products for the textile markets to liberate themselves and recover from their miserable social, political and economic situation. However, they wanted to offer other widows the option of being a part of their group so that they could earn money as well.
After some years, the group grew to 15 members. Receiving a fair price for their work, this group could face basic diary needs
In 1998, the group’s membership had grown to 30 weavers, including some very old women. They were constantly developing new textiles and designs. Every weaver weaves in her house, but the project has an office behind the municipal market for group activities.
The Cooperative and its Goals and Work Today
The primary objective of the cooperative is to pay the women a fair price for its traditionally Ixil-woven products that are made on a back-strap loom. Also, the cooperative provides other services for the women that they require such us helping them with health problems.
The cooperative intends to commercialize its products in the national and international markets. Moreover, with the goal of increasing sales, the cooperative offers shared, communal and sustainable tours in eco-tourism. This income enables the women to better their economic, personal, and family situations. The money the cooperative makes goes into group development programs, such as educational workshops and training for the women
Of course, the cooperative has many goals for the future! The women dreamed of strengthening their activities and developing new ones, like a tree growing towards the sky. The women, as always, are the “roots” of the tree, and their textiles are the “trunk”. From here, they can grow their plans like “branches”. They wanted to buy land and construct the cooperative’s buildings together, where they could have a school for their activities and training. There, they could be able to teach the young kids about weaving, have a store and an exhibition space for their work, and a diner-café where they will serve their traditional foods to visitors. With enough “sun” and “rain”, their dreams came true.
Today is being built in the entrance of San Juan Cotzal a new Community Center, in the Los Ángeles district.