Catarina (14) is part of a CAFOD-supported traditional crafts business in her village. It generates income, uses indigenous skills and is eco-friendly too! Catarina from Guatemala…
The view from the window of Catarina’s home. The scenery is beautiful but most people in rural areas like this are very poor
Catarina and her family are part of a co-operative in her community who together produce traditional cloth. CAFOD supports local crafts here, as there are environmental as well as financial benefits for families. Here, main source of income used to be cutting down trees to burn for lime.
Catarina’s family prepare the thread. Catarina’s Mum, Eva, uses a machine called a laboro which makes the strands thicker as it spins. Working together in a co-operative means they get cheaper prices for weaving looms and materials. Cloth is sold widely throughout Guatemala and villagers travel around by bus to different markets.
Catarina is preparing thread for weaving. CAFOD supports traditional skills like weaving, as it provides people with an eco-friendly alternative to unsustainable ways of making a living. .
Catarina’s mum dyes the thread amazing colours. CAFOD supports families in rural Guatemala to form co-operatives like this to start businesses using handmade goods. Communities learn to combine these traditional crafts with skills like marketing and managing their money collectively.
Catarina’s dad, Santiago, uses a loom. He lines up each individual piece of thread on the loom to weave in and out of the base colour, which has already been set up on the loom. They make clothes to sell and to wear. Catarina’s little sisters are wearing the family’s homemade clothes too.
The cloth is used many things, from traditional Mayan wrap-around skirts to wraps for carrying babies on backs. Special clothes are made for weddings which have more white on them, are finer and more expensive.
Cloth designs are all different, depending on the region. Everywhere in Guatemala you see women in their distinctive huipiles (blouses) and capixayes (long wrap-around skirts). Their unique designs and colours relates to a village or area.
Santiago shows the special certificate the CAFOD-supported weaving co-op got which gives them an official government ‘stamp of approval’
For more about CAFOD and young people in Mozambique go to: www.cafod.org.uk/bigdeal