About the Craft Project
The Chajulense craft program grew out of the Chajulense coffee program as a way to export the goods made by many of the women of the communities represented by the coffee cooperative. The cooperative has been selling the crafts abroad, and the coffee copperative has supported the women. With fluctuating coffee prices and the recent outbreak of Roya which threatens the coffee crops the cooperative is in need of partners to make the craft project self sustaining. We bring these crafts to the United States just as we do with the coffee in direct partnership with the cooperative. This way we make sure that the producers of these fine crafts are paid a fair wage for their efforts. We need to bring up the volume of sales so that we can help more members of the community and reduce some of the overhead costs like shipping. We appreciate your help with the purchase and promotion to your friends and family of these beautiful products.
Chajulense represents more than 2,000 partners and 57 communities are benefited by the processes promoted by the Association today. The achievements have been significant:
Communities are represented in the Association by local policies. The activities work through commissions, promoters and coordinators. A transparent administration has allowed us to strengthen the confidence of the people, the use of resources and the development of processes.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS Agricultural production is organic, which responds to a Maya cultural concept which is "to work the land without violence" or in harmony with nature.
THE MARKETING OF PRODUCTS AS FAIR TRADE It features organic produce and crafts involved in marketing processes Fairtrade.
INVESTING IN OUR OWN DEVELOPMENT A minimum of 10% of the profit is invested in community projects, education and health.
CULTURAL IDENTITY They have promoted cultural values and development processes from the Mayan worldview.
To order Chajulense Fair Trade Organic coffee, visit Cafe Campesino.
About Hands of Guatemala
Hands of Guatemala is this online site where these beautiful hand made goods can be ordered and shipped to your home. The products are warehoused in the United States through a partnership so that we can offer free and quick shipping of your selection. Please note that if a particular item is out of stock we will make sure that it is included in the next order. Please allow sufficient time as we need to wait for sufficient quantity to afford the shipping and customs from Guatemala. These expenses are included in the price to you, and rest assured that we are paying a very fair price to the women making these beautiful crafts that they themselves have set, offering them a much higher wage then they can receive from the local market.
The Origin of Our Business
When Bill Harris, the owner of Café Campesino and a founder of Cooperative Coffees, announced that he was leading a trip to Guatemala to visit coffee producers and textile artisans, seven people immediately signed up to join the adventure. Another person joined the traveling party when she was selected as the winner of a fundraising drawing to support the La Roya Project. They were met by two citizens of Guatemala City, and off they went in a hired van from Guatemala City to Antigua and up through the winding roads in the mountains to Chajul. They saw countryside rich in agriculture, worked by hand. The legendary chicken buses barreled by them on switchbacks, barely slowing down.
In Chajul, the group stayed at a guesthouse owned and operated by the Coffee Cooperative and dined on meals prepared by a Guatemalan family, complete with fresh handmade corn tortillas. They explored Chajul and were given a private tour of the Chajulense Textile Cooperative. What they saw was beautiful and amazing: women who took hand-dyed threads and turned them into pieces of art, using only their hands and feet to power the looms. The formation and existence of this textile cooperative is a testament to the strength of the women in the region, many of whom had lost several to the devastating civil war that had lasted in Guatemala from 1960 until 1996. These women are survivors. They formed the cooperative as a way to support themselves and their families with their art. Their cooperative also gives them the strength to demand a fair price for their goods.
The members of the group purchased hundreds of dollars worth of goods to bring home and share with friends and family. Everyone who received or saw these items was impressed with the quality of the workmanship and the vibrancy of the colors.
The whole trip was a transformative experience for every member of the group, resulting in lasting memories and friendships. And they were so moved by the story and mission of the Textile Cooperative that an idea was born: an online store to promote and sell the Textile Cooperative’s products in the United States.
A group from the United States visits the Asociacion Chajulense store while visiting coffee farms in Chajul Guatemala
The Fundamentals of Our Business
This business was founded as a Guatemalan business by Roberto Hernandez. Roberto is a citizen of Guatemala that accompanied the Coffee and Artisans trip with Bill Harris and friends. The business is based in Guatemala because this will serve to keep the funds in Guatemala to contribute to the Guatemalan economy and facilitate prompt payment to the artisans. Logistically, the actual fulfillment of orders will take place in Americus, Georgia.
All of the products on this site are Fair Trade, meaning that the artisans receive a fair price for their work.