A gifted weaver and seamstress, Gloria is always looking to expand her business and her art. She is eager to learn and always takes the opportunity to participate in trainings about business skills and artistry techniques. One such training inspired her to form a cooperative of women that helps artisans sell their products and thus increase their incomes, as there are few opportunities for women to work in her community.
Gloria is a native of a village on the shores of Lake Atitlan. She is 38-years-old, has two children, and has completed 6 years of schooling. She has been a client of Friendship Bridge for 14 loan cycles and is an empowered woman and a leader of her community, as well as President of her 8-member Trust Bank.
Like many Guatemalan women, Gloria learned to weave from her mother when she was 9-years-old. She also sold huipiles, belts, and hammocks with her mother in the markets in Panajachel, Chichicastenango, and Antigua. When she married, Gloria started weaving shawls, scarves, and hammocks, and sewing purses and bags out of used huipiles and corte in order to support her husband and their family.
The women in Gloria’s cooperative use the jaspe technique in their weaving and color all of their products using natural dyes. They search for the plant materials for their dyes in the nearby mountains, looking for the plants that will provide the colors for the dyes they want to use. Gloria sells her cooperative’s products in the market Antigua and hopes to soon open a store.