Pixan Impact Profile: Maria Guzman and Norma Guzman

Three years ago, Maria and Norma Guzman grew tired of mundane household chores in their small highland community of Llanos del Pinal and decided to make a change. The Guzman sisters had been participants in AMA’s Women’s circles for several years, and within their meetings they spent time with women who earned a living through AMA’s Pixan program. The Pixan women had the ability to buy new clothes and school supplies for their children, and were far more financially independent from their husbands than the rest of the community.The sisters discovered that Pixan was a commercial entity of AMA that sold handmade weavings to clients around the world. Women across the Western highlands participated by elaborating scarves, tablecloths, and bags, which AMA used to fill customer orders and paid the women to weave. Intrigued by the Pixan proposition, Maria and Norma inquired as to how they could join the program.At first the sisters doubted that they could participate. Although Maria seemed a perfect Pixan candidate, Norma was only 14 years old and had yet to gain real work experience. Maria didn’t want to leave her little sister behind, and when the opportunity arose for Norma to prove her readiness Maria encouraged her strongly. The sisters worked together to complete AMA workshops in exportation and commercialization, all the while learning to weave a product of international quality. In 2011, they demonstrated their newly acquired talents at Quetzaltenango’s annual city fair.

During that week, Maria and Norma proved that they deserve to be a part of our team,” said Juanita Hernandez, AMA’s Pixan Coordinator. “Some women get bored with all of the workshops that we require of our participants, but those two didn’t want to stop. We’re currently planning more professional courses for this coming autumn, and Maria and Norma keep asking when they can begin.” Since their initiation into Pixan three years ago, the two women have put their new incomes to good use. Maria recently collaborated with her husband to build a new house, and Norma uses her money to ensure that her little cousins continue to attend school. Currently, Maria and Norma are working alongside dozens of other women from various Highland communities to fill an order of textiles worth $2,000. The order comes from Arum Fellow, a furniture company in England and regular Pixan customer. Pixan products are displayed on the company website: www.pixanproductions.org/

Laura Catania