The Chukumuk community is located in the department of Sololá. This small community was formed by survivors of Hurricane Stan, which was one of the largest natural disasters ever in Guatemala. It caused irreparable losses, hundreds of deaths, and left many families without homes or employment.
Because of this, five women from the community decided to organize with the goal of working to generate income. They were able to do this with the help of various institutions, where they learned about politics, handicrafts, and other fields. But, one of the greatest skills that resulted was the ability to create beaded pieces, including ornaments, accessories, bags, and home goods. Thanks to this, many women have become involved in the creation of these pieces, where they have learned a lot and have helped others, generating a steady income for their families.
“This has been a long journey with great challenges. For example, many of us were not able to read or write, which made it hard to use a measuring tape. This interfered with the quality of our creations, since we could not obtain the measurements that we needed. But, we were able to rise above this challenge thanks to the support of our children, who studied in school and were our primary source of motivation. We learned from them; little by little we taught ourselves how to use this instrument.”
The community where these women live is located several kilometers from the municipal seat. Because of this, the only mode of transport to the center was by water, which prevented the artisans from being able to bring their crafts to the market. But, this did not stop them from fighting for their dreams, and they were able to find an affordable mode of transport.
“This group of women is a great source of motivation for the community at large due to the impact of Hurricane Stan. They have found the best way to take advantage of their opportunities, allowing them to achieve their dreams of helping their husbands. Because of this, their children are able to attend school.
“In each of our meetings, we talk about daily life, we share experiences, problems, and other difficulties. We are fortunate to have Josefa Pop, who is very dynamic and cheerful. She always displays a lot of faith and hope, which has been a great source of motivation, helping the group face different situations that have beset us. She leads our prayers in the name of God in order to guide us in our lives and in our activities, helping us to be better people and to appeal to Him for everything that we need.
“We love having the opportunity to show our work to the world. We have formed a group of women with a lot of dreams yet to be fulfilled. We want to be a good example for future generations, so that they know that if they fight and work with love and dedication, they will be able to achieve anything. We are thankful for our clients. We are sure that when they see our work, they will feel the love with which we make our pieces.”