Mayan Hands, is a non-profit organization that provides, “economic and educational opportunities to Mayan women so that they can bring their families out of extreme poverty as they continue to live within the culture they cherish.” (Mayan Hands website)
Mayan Hands partners with women artisans in 14 communities in the Guatemalan Highlands to sell fine handmade products.
These sales support artisan partners and help to keep their rich cultural traditions alive. You can read more about weaving and the Mayan culture here.
The organization sells woven baskets, colorful linens, fun bags, darling felted wool animals, holiday ornaments, and more.
I have a couple of Mayan Hands clutch bags and they are my absolute favorite!
We also have a few of their lovely baskets. We use them to organize the kids’ seashells, figurines, and felt toys. But really, they are too pretty to put anything in!
The Pandemic’s Effect
Sales at Mayan Hands have decreased significantly due to the pandemic. The artists who work in rural communities have been fortunate to continue receiving subsidies through Mayan Hands, but the situation is dire.
How You Can Help
As you shop for gifts this year, please consider making a purchase from Mayan Hands.
You’ll be purchasing beautiful handmade goods by talented women artists and supporting their livelihoods.
I can see these darling felted animals as a fun and imaginative kids play set.
Colorful friendship bracelets are a perfect stocking stuffer or gift tag tie.
And a felted ornament is a thoughtful touch to the gift cards you’re giving.
And, they have beautiful Judaica gifts as well.
Learning How to Weave
If you’re interested in learning more about weaving, I wrote a blog post about How to Weave on a Cardboard Loom. It’s a very simple and basic tutorial, but lots of fun!
For more experienced weavers, Mayan Hands also sells weaving supplies to learn how weave using a backstrap loom.
Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris by Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri is a wonderful children’s book inspired by the Mayan Hands organization.
It’s an inspiring story about a young girl named Ixchel who wants to carry on the tradition of Mayan women weaving. In the process she finds a special use for colorful plastic bags.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book are donated by the author to support Mayan Hands programs.
There’s a fun coloring and paper doll printable from the story too.
I recently discovered Bookshop as a place to buy books online and support local bookstores. If you purchase the book through my link, I receive a small commission and appreciate your support.
Please Help Spread the Word
Even if you aren’t able to purchase items from Mayan Hands this year, please help spread the word about this wonderful organization!