**RECEIVE A FREE BRACELET!!!**
For all donations of $20 or more, you will be entered into a monthly drawing to receive a free bracelet!
(quotes translated from Spanish)
“Because of you, I can now look at my bank account, and see that I have money to buy food for my children,” Ana Guarcas, one of my Mayan Treasures told me with tears streaming down her face.
“Thank you, thank you! Because I am blind and unable to work besides shining shoes and washing cars with my 10 year old son’s help, my wife Marta can now earn money and help support our family of 5.”
Ana and Marta are two of 25 women I am helping in Guatemala. Our family has lived in Guatemala off and on for the last 2 ½ years. Most families in Panajachel, Guatemala live in small tin shacks with dirt floors. It is common for 3-5 family members to all sleep on the same bed. Diets consist mainly of corn tortillas with actual dirt as a filler. Malnutrition is a huge issue. Because of lack of money, many children drop out after grade school, because beyond that, school costs money. The illiteracy rate is very high, which leaves people with jobs such as shoveling river rock, or doing house cleaning for very low wages. Finding a job is very difficult.
As I grew to love the people in Guatemala, and saw their struggles and hardships because of lack of income, I came up with an idea on how I could help! I had learned how to make stone macramé jewelry from a friend of mine, who learned from natives in Central and South America. I decided I could easily teach some of the women in poverty in Guatemala how to make this jewelry, and then I could sell it for them in the U.S.!
In the spring of 2013 I started Mayan Treasure. I have worked closely with my group of 25 Mayan Treasure women, several who are single moms, or in abusive marriages, helping them learn the art of jewelry-making. We have set up Mayan Treasure as a non-profit organization so that 40% of sales go directly to the women’s bank accounts in Guatemala, and the other 60% goes into the Mayan Treasure account (I don’t make a dime). That money is used to purchase more jewelry supplies, and to cover other expenses such as setting up booths at conventions where I sell their jewelry. There are several retail stores now who carry Mayan Treasure jewelry. I am fundraising online so that we can purchase more jewelry supplies for the women, and hold more booths around the U.S., which means more sales. The more sales we get, the more women we can add onto Mayan Treasure. I would eventually like to be helping 100 women! There is such a huge need, and even living there in Guatemala, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the poverty that exists there.
The Mayan Treasure women in Guatemala will benefit from this fundraiser. The extra money earned every month goes to the basic needs of life: food, clothing, and education for their children. Beyond that, we have started a mentoring program. One of the young ladies in Mayan Treasure has shown great leadership skills. I have hired her to start mentoring the women. She meets with the women on a regular basis, going over their financial goals, and helping to educate them about saving money in their bank accounts, and using what extra they have to work toward larger goals. One woman has started taking computer classes with her extra Mayan Treasure money, so that she can help her children who are learning computers in school, and seek after a better job. Another woman has a goal of owning a refrigerator, so she can open up her own business of selling food from her home.
My goal is to earn $2,000. If we exceed that amount, we will be thrilled!
You can also view our website at http://www.mayantreasure.org/