Welcome! First of all, thank you so much for your support. It means the world to us to have the opportunity to share with you our story and the stories behind the woman weavers we support.
We began this incredible journey in 2008 when we traveled to Guatemala for the first time. As a mighty mother-daughter duo, we'd always been involved in our community and jumped at any opportunity to volunteer together. We were offered the chance to travel to the impoverished town of San Martin Chiquito in the highlands of Guatemala, and immediately said, YES!
Little did we know, our lives would be changed forever upon meeting the Mayan people who quickly felt like family. Specifically, the small group of women weavers who at the time, only had 5 members of their weaving cooperative. We immediately fell in love with the women and their families, and were blown away by the incredible art of backstrap weaving that the woman passed down from generation to generation. We loved the way in which mothers passed down the art of weaving to their daughters for the last 2000 years. We quickly became involved with the organization, Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance, and have been going back multiple times a year since that trip.
OUR PROMISE: We made a promise to the women that day we returned to the village for the second time. We would find a market for their weavings. We would build them a retail space so they could sell to visitors. We would honor them and their art by doing what we could to help. They promised to weave, to work together, to improve their skills and the quality of their work. There were smiles that day, all around. There were tears. There was excitement and there was hope...for something that would be better than before. The name of their newly formed weaving cooperative, "Tesoros del Corazon" (Treasures from the Heart), came from the women themselves, as they talked about their love of their traditions, their families, and their village. Their weavings tell stories of their homeland.
Today, JOJI Bags employs over 15 women and provides them with health care, educational scholarships for their families, skill-building exercises, and a storefront in which to weave and sell to passing visitors. We hope to grow in the coming years and employ as many women weavers as we can. We are in the business of CHANGE. Join us.
Kathy & Amy