Meet One of Our Sisters- Elvia Chiché!

Elvia Chiché, 20 years old from Llanos del Pinal, is the Production Assistant and Manager of Pixan’s workshop inside of the AMA house in Xela.

For Elvia’s whole life she has helped her mother care for her 7 siblings, while always dreaming of being able to go to school. Since her parents were never able to afford the school fees, she decided at a young age that she wanted to start working to be able to support herself and her family. Elvia’s sister, an AMA women’s circle member, had work cleaning HSP’s volunteer house and AMA’s offices and in February 2014 passed on her job to Elvia when she became pregnant.

Immediately after getting hired to clean, Elvia became fascinated with the process that goes on in the production workshop. She was interested in how to cut and sew, but the industrial machines intimidated her. “I wanted to learn, but everything I made turned out ugly and crooked. Eventually, after trying many times I was so proud when I made my first bag”, she said. Elvia started feverishly finishing her cleaning duties early every day so she could have time to learn new skills.

“Dilma, who was my mentor, told me something that stuck with me: to want to do something is to be able to do something. I was thrilled that my hard work paid off when, in January of 2015, I was promoted to manage the Pixan workshop.” Elvia said that without knowing as much as she knows now, she felt like she was diving into deep water headfirst by being hired to the Pixan team.

When asked what her favorite thing is about her progression over the years from maintenance work to managing the workshop she said, “What I have loved most is discovering a part of myself that I didn’t know existed and achieving things that I didn’t think I could. I like the freedom to be able to use my imagination to create new items and play with the colors and patterns to find good combinations. I also love collaborating with my team, without a team nothing is possible. I enjoy joking around with the other seamstresses in a happy environment. I am also very thankful to have the opportunity to improve my computer skills, something I never knew how to do before. I know now that if I set my mind to it , I can accomplish anything.”

The Highland Support Project is dedicated to assisting indigenous women to become professionals so that they can compete in a globalized world. Stay tuned for more stories about our Sister Bee, our Sisterhood focused on empowerment through mutual support and training for professional development.

Laura Catania