Our team brings together different abilities. We are a partnership of artists, activists and developers. We invite you to join us in our goal to create direct and fair trade opportunities in the handcraft world.
The AMA Team:
Juana, known around the office as Juanita, has worked at AMA for five years in its finance department. In that time she also became Coordinator of Pixan’s House of Design. Juanita does a wonderful job juggling these two roles which have given her allowed her to develop as a professional in the areas of finance and community project development. "I have put my heart and time into making professional relationships and offering my friendship. Thank you to everyone who has collaborated in this development process because, at the same time, it has had a big impact on my life."
Dilma graduated with a degree in Industry and Textiles. She has worked at AMA for two years as Coordinator of Production in Pixan’s House of Design. In her role, she is responsible for managing clients orders, ensuring that each piece is meticulously inspected for quality and orders are delivered on time and on budget. Dilma also leads and guides a team of skilful young artisan women. "Working with Indigenous women, participating in AMA, has given me the opportunity to share with them, to hear the stories and understand the way they face and overcome their problems. This is what makes me admire and respect them. AMA helps us and gives us a chance to improve various aspects of our lives. It does this by transferring opportunities that improve the lives of women and their communities."
With only 21 years, Paola is one of AMA’s youngest staff members. Paola is a wonderful example of development and empowerment. Formerly she was part of a women's circle in the Chiquix community, but after showing her skills in leading the artisans she became a Community Facilitator for the Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán communities of Sololá. Paola has also proved her talent as weaver, having learnt from her mother from the age of 10. This skill has allowed her to wisely guide other weavers to produce beautiful embroidered textiles and fulfill client orders. "As an Indigenous person, I identify with the stories of these women and their communities. They make me appreciate and respect their fight to achieve independence in various aspects of life which has taken many years. This is why it is my intention to represent my community and to help more women who have never been to school or had other opportunities."
Mayra has received her degree in Education Development and Productivity. She fluently speaks, reads and writes Spanish and the Maya language Mam, and these skills have been very helpful to bond with women's circles in the Quetzaltenango communities of San Juan Ostuncalco and Llanos del Pinal. AMA is fortunate to benefit from Mayra’s talents in its Health, Agricultural and Pixan House of Design projects. Her Pixan work involoves guiding and encouraging groups of skilled artisans,to be part of the Pixan team and always strive to improve their work. "Working with AMA and interacting with the Indigenous women in these communities everyday has changed my way of thinking and acting. AMA provides opportunities for training, learning and, above all, for having a dignified life to the women of the CMA (AMA women’s circles) and their families, This project also respects these womens’ advanced skills in weaving and agriculture."
Ligia has a secretarial background and is in the final stages of a Marketing Degree. HSP and AMA recently supported her to enroll in web design courses and workshops, so Ligia is also learning, little by little, the intricacies of this skillset. Ligia contributes to Pixan’s House of Design through her web design and social media administration work at AMA. "It is incredible to see how talented the artisans are and how high quality their work is. I feel very lucky to be able to see the Pixan products every day and be part of the team. I had always wanted to work in a organization like AMA. I admire the all the labor and effort that is required to achieve AMA’s goals. It is a great opportunity to learn from and meet amazing people."
With our different approach of empowerment and not charity, it is important to learn from the words of the very own artisans their stories of overcoming the injustices and their joy when good things happen to improve their lives.
Ana Victoria has been a member of AMA and Pixan for the last three years in the community of Chiquix. “I feel very happy because Pixan connects us with clients and orders and we are able to earn a bit of money. Around here, it can be difficult to make an income, but with the weavings we are able to earn a bit. For this reason I feel very content and lucky to participate with both AMA and Pixan. Ana Victoria feels excited that her weavings are being exported to other countries. She is proud that her weavings go to places like the United States and she says it makes her happy that people from other countries receive her products and see the beauty and effort it takes to create each piece.
Ana began participating with AMA six years ago, attending weekly group meetings. Two and a half years ago, Ana became a member of Pixan. “Each weaving has a unique significance and meaning; I feel pride in sharing a piece of traditional, Guatemalan culture with the rest of the world.”
From the community of Chiquix Sector III, has worked with both AMA and Pixan for the past three years. For Juana, the largest benefits her participation has yielded thus far has been learning new ideas and knowledge through weekly women’s circles as well as having an additional income through selling her weavings. Juana has a son and a daughter and with this income, she is able to take care of her children’s basic needs, such as proper clothing and nutrition.
Maria, from the community of Pacutama, has worked with AMA for 5.5 years and has been a member of Pixan for the past 4 years. Maria recounts that in the past, she and other members of the women’s circle received skills training. Now, with new orders coming in through Pixan, Maria is able to fully utilize what she has learned by creating weavings that will be exported to other countries. This has allowed Maria the opportunity to contribute to the health and well-being of her family through the income that she has earned. “We are working together and improving our talents. I love that the skill and potential of the women from my community can be shared with other countries. I feel pride that people from other nations are interested in our culture, our customs, our country.”
Dona Pascuala is the community leader of the Xeabaj II women’s circle. She began participating with AMA in 2011; upon entry, she became a Pixan participant. Dona Pascuala says she feels proud to share her textiles with the rest of the world. “Each weaving has a meaning, a story. I want other countries to know that here in Guatemala, there are many talented women who dedicate their time and precision to creating something beautiful and unique. If something does not turn out exactly right, there has to be patience to go back and correct it.” Dona Pascuala is pleased with the extra income that allows her to contribute to her family’s needs. She is married with a toddler and is expecting another child this December.