Empower women. Eliminate poverty.



Originally from the municipality of Patzún, Chimaltenango, Milvia Marisol Xicay Yaqui, grew up learning how to knit and sell huipiles alongside her mother at a very young age. Due to the hard work of this mother-daughter duo, Milvia was able to study and graduate from high-school. After some years working diligently on her craft, with the help of her family, she and her brother developed and sold other types of handicrafts, such as small purses and bags. When she got married and had two daughters, Milvia helped to support her family by creating beautiful aprons, necklaces, earrings, blouses, slippers, and recycled belts.

The now 36-year-old Milvia, joined Friendship Bridge’s artisan team in 2016, where she has flourished ever since. With the help of Friendship Bridge, Milvia has greatly improved the process and quality of her production. Her first loan with Friendship Bridge was Q 2,000.00. Due to sheer discipline, perseverance, and hard work in a short amount of time, Milvia has come to manage a credit loan of Q 5,000.00, as well as an additional credit of Q 1,500.00 at Chanim, for her increasingly successful seamstress business.

Milvia is currently the Secretary on the Board of Directors at her communal Trust Bank, where she attends meetings on education and health from Friendship Bridge as well. She has expressed how grateful she is to Friendship Bridge for having supported her financially, technically, and in her creative and entrepreneurial processes’. She claims that, “it is practical and easy to work with Friendship Bridge because you do not have to meet challenging and unreasonable demands that many other credit institutions require, such as high and inaccessible interest rates. These loans have allowed me to greatly improve my income and therefore support my family’s health, education, and living conditions.”

Now that she has trained with Friendship Bridge’s artisan program for three cycles, Milvia has greatly advanced in her design techniques, quality control, packaging, cost-effectives’, and seasonal development of her products. Her ultimate dream is to export her products abroad, and to be able to continue to provide financial support to her family for their future endeavors. She wants to pay for her daughters’ college tuition, since she did not have the opportunity to continue her studies when she was younger.