What does it mean to say that Trama's products are fair trade?
We sell our products at prices that cover the weavers' costs and ensure that they are properly compensated for their labour.
Each cooperative decides their own wage for their products, and the association pays them that price. The product is marked up by a small percentage (usually 5%-20%), all of which is reinvested into the organisation to help pay the overhead of operating the association and the store. By purchasing our products, you are supporting sustainable work practices while simultaneously investing in Guatemala’s economic development.
I will only have a few days in Quetzaltenango. Do I have enough time to take a class?
We offer classes as short as 1 hour, during which time students can learn a good deal about the history of weaving and weaving processes. In as little as 10 hours you can make your own scarf. You will need approximately 20 hours, however, in order to complete a fabric with embroidery.
The school is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and students are free to develop their own class schedules during these hours. You can spread your lessons out over the course of a few weeks if you like.
Who teaches the weaving classes?
Members of the cooperative teach classes. These Mayan women are experts in the art of backstrap loom weaving.
Do I need to speak Spanish to take a class?
No. Many of our students do not speak Spanish. English-speaking volunteers are available to assist students. However, weaving classes can also be a great a opportunity to practice your Spanish.
Can I select the colors for the weaving I will make in class?
Absolutely. We have a wide selection of thread and you are free to choose your own colors.
Will I be able to volunteer with the different groups within the cooperative or visit the various locations of the groups?
Trama Textiles is made up of 17 different groups of weavers located in 6 districts in the highlands of Guatemala. Many of these groups speak an indigenous language such as K’iche’, Mam, Kakchiquel, Ixil and Tz’utujil, meaning Spanish is their second language.
Because of the logistical complications of distance and language barriers, it is not possible to arrange for volunteers to live or work with the women in the cooperative groups.
However, we do have homestay opportunities available for both volunteers and visitors. Check out our Homestays page for more information.
I want to volunteer. Can Trama help arrange for me to stay with a family?
Volunteers at Trama Textiles are responsible for arranging their own travelling, meals and living arrangements. Our partner Xelapages (www.xelapages.com) has an online classifieds page that often contains housing for rent. If you're taking Spanish classes, you can also contact your Spanish school. Many schools offer homestays with families.
Where is the weaving school located?
We are located in Zona 1, just north of Central Park. Our address is 3a Calle 10-56, just off 12 Avenida. We are very close to a range of hotels, hostels, restaurants and cafes.