Francisca Tun Pocop was born into a poor, indigenous family in the municipality of Monte Mercedes, Sololá. Since she never had the opportunity to have a formal education in school, her informal education was through knitting and weaving at home, alongside the women in her family. Francisca reminisces, “I remember the first time I learned to work with fabrics to make belts, or fajas, alongside my mother and grandmother. After making many mistakes, I finally learned how to successfully weave typical shirts (huipiles), skirts (cortes), and belts (fajas).” When the quality of her products was finally approved by her mother and grandmother, she began to sell them in San Lucas Toliman, and in Sololá, at local markets. Today, Francisca’s children have followed the family weaving tradition. She and her daughters design and sell huipiles, fajas, scarves, and table runners together.
Francisca has been with Friendship Bridge for 11 years, and 14 credit cycles. She currently manages a loan of Q2,000.00 at her communal bank, Tzolojyá. Francisca expresses her deep appreciation to Friendship Bridge for changing her life by empowering and training her alongside such an amazing artisan team. Before her training, she never thought that she would be able to adequately calculate the costs of her products, since she was never taught basic math, and/or how to use a calculator. She states, “Friendship Bridge has educated me, not only in product development, but in mathematics and other important subjects necessary to run a successful business.”