"Growing up I got to meet other women weavers in my community, many cannot speak, read or write in Spanish so it occurred to me to create a group where we could all help each other succeed."
"I'm Gloria Floricelda Pacay, organizer and leader of this group of weavers from my community. I was born on August 26, 1995 and my family comes from the Quéqchí Maya community from Samac, and we live in Alta Verapaz. Ours is a beautiful village with many trees, quite a distance away from the main town, and further away from Guatemala City. We had to travel 12 kilometers every day to go to school and I am proud to tell you I recently got my accountant's license.
"My mother taught me to weave, just like her mother taught her. My siblings and I grew up amongst yarn and looms, and as I improved my weaving skills and was old enough, I would teach my youngest sister as well as other girls in my community. With time I realized that it's not easy at all to make a living from weaving and that it's complicated to have enough money to invest in products and prime materials because the long distances we need to travel and the cost that alone implies.
"Weaving takes time and dedication, and on top of all this, when we finally make it to the villages and towns to sell our products, people refuse to pay a fair price – they want to pay so little, that it's not enough for us to buy our materials.
"Growing up I got to meet other women weavers in my community - many of them cannot speak, read or write in Spanish, so it occurred to me to create a group where we could all help each other succeed. Now there's 15 of us working together, creating new designs, selling our products and looking for new clients. Everyone weaves at home, which allows us to be with our families – works well for those who have children so they can keep an eye on them.
"The art of weaving is very special to us. It is a reminder of the rich cultural legacy we have inherited from our ancestors, and which we pass on from generation to generation. In our country, traditional weaves are gradually disappearing, and it's up to us young women weavers not to allow it. We must preserve this craft and keep it alive."