The mountainous village of Sacualpa in the Quiche region of Guatemala is off the beaten tourist path, and artisans there have fewer opportunities to sell their goods. Francisco Jimon leads a group of five people who make machine embroidered textiles using locally made backstrap loomed fabric. The group is made up of Francisco, his brother, Tomas, and other family members. They have been working together for twelve years and use the income from their crafts to supplement what they make working on other people’s farms as day laborers. They earn decent wages planting, tending, and harvesting crops of corn, beans, and tomatoes, but the work is seasonal, and their craft sales provide income they can count on when there is no work in the fields. Continue reading
In Guatemala, over a million children are not in school — one in 28, according to a UNESCO educational report. Many kids are working to support their families, while others would go to school if their parents could afford the fees. Although primary school in Guatemala is ostensibly free and compulsory, only thirty percent of students who begin school finish the six years of primary school. While school is theoretically free, in reality, there are high registration fees, costs for materials such as textbooks, and more, putting even basic education outside of the realm of possibility for many families. Those who drop out are disproportionately rural and from indigenous families, just like the ten students who are receiving scholarships through Unique Batik.