The Ixil are a Maya people who live in the Cuchumatanes Mountains in El Quiché. Beginning in the 1980s, the Ixil were targeted by former Guatemalan President Efraín Ríos Montt for a mass genocide operation during the Guatemalan Civil War. During this dark period, the Ixil were subject to displacement, starvation, and horrific crimes against humanity. Over 7,000 of the Ixil people were killed during the violence, while 60% of the indigenous community was forced to flee to the mountains.

Efforts to restore and rebuild the beautiful culture of the Ixil people have begun through nonprofits like Limitless Horizons Ixil. Before Limitless Horizons Ixil, many of the Ixil women were unable to make a living for their families. Limitless Horizons Ixil finds fair trade buyers for these local artisans, buyers like Genesis Fair Trade. Through likeminded organizations, not only can these families get the income they desperately need and deserve, but consumers are able to enjoy the traditional weaving skills of the Ixil people. Genesis currently buys embroidered handbags, pouches, cosmetic bags, scarves and shawls, bookmarks, and yoga bags, all expertly crafted by hand.

By working alongside organizations like Maya Traditions and Limitless Horizons Ixil, artisans are able to support themselves and their families. These organizations provide fair trade wages and free platforms for direct access to the global market to find buyers like Genesis, cutting out the middlemen who might otherwise exploit the artisan community.

Waqxaqi’ Kan Cooperative of Chuacruz

Chuacruz is a small, rural village in Guatemala, located near Lake Lake Atitlán. This area is best known for diverse Mayan communities and its dedication to traditional craft. However, beneath the vibrancy of culture, Chuacruz and its neighbors are still recovering from tragic losses incurred during the Guatemalan civil war, waged from 1960 to 1996. After nearly four decades of devastation from the mass genocide of indigenous tribes and drought brought on by El Nino, many Chuacruz women were widowed without a source of steady income or food.

The women of the region desperately needed income to support their families and rebuild their villages. So, in 1982, in the midst of the Guatemalan civil war, the Waqxaqi´Kan Co-op was founded. The Waqxaqi´Kan was established to give these women the ability to create and sell traditional Mayan textiles, thus providing avenues for war-battered families to generate income. The founders of Waqxaqi´Kan initiated a relationship with local businesses and organizations in the area, like Maya Traditions Foundation, to gain recognition in the global market for their unique products.

Today, we have the opportunity to not only draw attention to the expert craftsmanship of the Waqxaqi´Kan Co-op and share it with the world, but we have the responsibility to raise awareness to the plight of Chuacruz. We can make a difference through fair trade purchases, water supply, and education. Won’t you join Genesis in rehabilitating a deserving community?

Qato Q’ib Cooperative of Chirijox

Chirijox is a small village in the region of Nahualá, Guatemala, directly off the Inter-American highway. The women of Chirijox are known for their traditional ‘huipil” dress—the huipil designs are representations of Mayan leadership and sacrifice.

The artisans of the Qato Q’ib Cooperative in Chirijox are K’iche Maya and speak their native language of K’iche. The cooperative first began selling their weavings in 1989. Since its inception, the co-op has adhered to creating the finest Mayan textiles, believing in strong work ethic and commitment to their craft. 

There are currently 17 members within the Qato Q’ib co-op, and all have seen significant improvements in their quality of life. They consistently work to develop the style and design of their products, weaving the traditional with the modern to sell in local and global markets.