Helping Women in Guatemala Become Financially Independent

Mission in Guatemala

How can a turtle help a woman rise out of poverty?  This isn’t just any turtle … this is a turtle with a mission!

This adorable turtle backpack is handmade in Guatemala by women like Clara who have struggled through the devastating effects of poverty.

Although Guatemala has grown economically in recent years, it still claims one of the highest inequality rates in Latin America. With some of the worst poverty, malnutrition, and maternal-child mortality rates in the region,* there is still work to be done before women are treated fairly.  That’s where Trades of Hope comes in.

Clara from Guatemala

Clara – Trades of Hope Artisan in Guatemala

Trades of Hope partners with women around the world to bring long-term sustainable employment to communities, helping these women to rise above their circumstances.

Clara is one of the artisans in Guatemala who sews bags for Trades of Hope. Among these are the Turtle and Wayfarer Backpacks, both previously featured in our “Mommie & Me Bundle” (2018).

Clara is a hardworking mother of three who worked in a company outside her city when her children were young.  As is the struggle of motherhood worldwide, Clara found it increasingly difficult to work outside the home with young children.

With the hope of gaining a better work/life balance, she founded the artisan group with her husband. This afforded them both the luxury to work out of their home. She could care for and spend time with their children while still providing for the family. It was a blessing that has continued to sustain their little workshop. Their home-based business has now been sewing handicrafts for the past fifteen years.

Women Helping Women

Starting their own workshop meant more than just meeting their needs to balance work and family time: it meant she could help others rise out of poverty.

Clara has a big heart for the community, and she takes a personal interest in those that work for her. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and Clara and her husband exemplify that saying.

One of the young women she employs, Mercedes, struggled with abandonment issues from her childhood. They took her under their wing to help her with food and housing, and Clara taught Mercedes how to sew and make handicrafts.

Now that Mercedes is grown, she works in the group and has the tools she needs to become financially independent.

Clara with Her Turtles

A Hand Up

Unfortunately, there are countless more women around the world like Mercedes, desperate to find a way to rise above their circumstances.

These women do not want charity. They want an opportunity! A hand UP over a hand OUT.

You can help provide their ongoing sustainability when you purchase the items they create.

Trades of Hope is Teaching Skills for Financial Independence in Guatemala.

You can help women in Guatemala rise out of poverty.

*poverty statistics based on 2108 worldbank.org data.

Barb DeSouza
About Barb DeSouza
Barb wet her feet in Admin, Tech, and Customer Service at Trades of Hope before settling into her sweet spot in the Marketing/Communication team. Better known as her alter-ego, "Barbara Hope" in the Partners' Facebook world, Barb uses humor to deflect, having a quick-witted comeback, hashtag, or gif to lighten most situations. She is passionate about coffee, grammar, and her hometown, Boston's, sports teams (much to Jeremy's dismay).

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