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The Cooperative

 

 

"We don't sell products, we sell culture." 
Oralia Chopén, Vice President of Trama Textiles

THE ORGANISATION

Trama Textiles is a cooperative of female Maya backstrap loom weavers across Guatemala.

Our cooperative was formed in 1988 after some of the most devastating years of the Guatemalan civil war. During this period, many Maya men were lost: grandfathers, fathers, brothers, and sons. As a result, the women across our communities united and decided to use their skills as weavers to support themselves and their families. This led to the birth of Trama Textiles. Since then, our cooperative has provided a sense of purpose and empowerment and enabled the possibility of a brighter future.

Today we work directly with 100 women from 17 weaving communities across 5 regions in the Western Highlands; Sololá, Huehuetenango, Sacatepéquez, Quetzaltenango, and Quiché. We also collaborate with various individual weavers and artisans across the country who play a crucial role in Trama’s success.

MISSION STATEMENT

Many of our weavers don’t speak Spanish, so they are often forced to sell their products to middlemen for very low prices. In other words: making a living from their art can be challenging. This is where Trama Textiles intervenes. Able to communicate in their own Maya dialects, our weavers decide on the price of each product and are paid upfront. This guarantees both a fair wage and a reliable source of income for the women in our communities, meaning that they can support themselves and their families in regions where work is hard to find. 

In this way, Trama preserves and develops our cultural traditions by maintaining our textile arts and their histories.

WEAVING

Weaving is a century-old Maya art that remains a fundamental part of Maya identity today. Across Guatemala, each Maya town has its own unique traje (traditional dress) which distinguishes it from others. Some of the pieces worn by the women are so intricate they can take months to make. learn more...






HOW WE WORK

Trama Textiles is a 100% worker-owned and run cooperative. Each village that works with Trama Textiles also has its own elected representative. Her job is to communicate with Trama to coordinate the delivery of the weaving, and to ensure each weaver is receiving a good price for her work. Every three months, the women gather at the shop in Quetzaltenango to review the success of Trama Textiles and to discuss potential improvements. Every three years, Trama hosts an assembly where all the women vote on the new presidents and update their constitutions. 

OUR BOARD

President: Amparo de León de Rubio
Vice President: Oralia Chopen
Secretary: Lidia Sicay
Treasurer: Maria Luisa Chavez
1st Member: Isabel Guarchaj
2nd Member: Socorro Sicay
3rd Member: Julia Diaz