The Jolom Mayaetik Co-operative

This beautiful organisation is not only a weaving and embroidery co-operative, it is a place where Maya women come together to empower one another. Jolom Mayaetik is run by indigenous Maya women for indigenous Maya women and it is where over 200 women from 11 communities have a safe space. They learn about their rights as indigenous women, teach their children about their culture and history and learn about health and natural medicines. The women are taught to embrace their identity and not forget who they are.

The Jolom Mayaetik artisan cooperative is linked to K'inal Antsetik which is a non-profit civil association that focuses on the empowerment of indigenous Maya women by teaching leadership skills and providing support, education, training and counselling. Through K'inal Antsetik many members of Jolom Mayaetik have learnt accounting, business management, information technology and how to expand their market reach in the artisan sector.

Because many of Jolom Mayaetik's artisans live in rural communities that are hours from the city, the co-op provides them with a way of selling their pieces without having to travel every day to the markets. Instead generations of women weave at home with their children or grandchildren and continue to run the household. The weaving and embroidery is distributed evenly among artisans throughout each community and democratically elected leaders from each town are chosen to manage quality and production.

Our values instantly connected with this incredible group of women and once we saw their work we were even more impressed. They apply traditional techniques to modern designs. Each design is made by hand, either hand embroidered or woven on a backstrap loom. The motifs within their designs represent traditional Maya beliefs and tell age old stories that provide purpose beyond the beautiful aesthetic.

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