Meet the artisans- Meet one of our weaving groups, CEDEC
CEDEC is a weaving group from the Guatemalan state of San Marcos, high in the mountains close to the Mexican border. This talented group of weavers works on the foot loom to make fabric that can later be used for bags and purses.
In the early 80’s, Aurelia was invited to participate in some workshops about women’s rights and indigenous rights in a town a few hours away. After attending the workshops, she was so moved by what she learned that she returned to her village and began to tell other women about all of her new knowledge. The women then formed together to create the Community Development Center (Centro de Desarrollo Comunitario-CEDEC) . In the days when the group started, there were 45 members. That was more than 30 years ago, and now the group has dwindled down to seven dedicated members who spend their time making typical fabric for the region where they live. They generally sell their products in the market in the nearest town which is about an hour away by microbus. Buses only come in and out of the village sporadically and many people walk if they have somewhere they need to be. The small village where the women live is very rural. It’s located in the western mountains of Guatemala and surrounded by beautiful panoramic views of the Guatemalan countryside.
The women are fortunate to have a weaving center, which was built in 2009 with financial support from Sharing the Dream and some wonderful donors. The center now holds nine foot looms where the women work. The center offers a quiet, focused workspace where the women can weave in comparison to the often hectic environment of the home.
Recently, we visited the women at the weaving center to do a workshop to them about quality control and combining colors. Part of the focus of the Artisan Development program is to give workshops to our various artisan groups about various topics which will be helpful for their work. Our goal is to ensure that all of our artisan groups have the capacity to find new clients and produce quality products so that they receive repeat orders.
The women in the weaving group have, on average, five children each. One of the encouraging things that we heard was that even though the highest level of education among the women is 4th grade, almost all of their children have studied and earned their high school degrees. Some have even gone on to study university courses. In a country where only 48% of males and 44% of females attend secondary school, it was encouraging to hear that the women have made education a priority for their children (“At a glance: Guatemala, 2013).
You can purchase products made with fabric from Cedec in our stores and in our online store soon!
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.