Focus: Construction and Community.
TRAMA Textiles, the Association of Women for Artisan Development in Backstrap Loom Weaving, works directly with 17 weaving cooperatives, representing 400 women from five regions in the western highlands of Guatemala: Sololá, Huehuetenango, Sacatepéquez, Quetzaltenango and Quiché.
For us, the Spanish word TRAMA, “the weft” or “binding thread”, is interchangeable with the word comida, “food¨. Our weavings clothe us, warm our families through highland winters, and carry our babies on our backs. They unite our people from generation to generation and sustain us as much as any food.
The patterns of our textiles differ throughout our communities, varying from village to village, department to department, and from the highlands to the lowlands. Each of our designs and patterns tells a different story, representing the unity of our past histories and present cultures. The ancient textile craft of backstrap loom weaving binds together our families, communities, lands, and the traditions passed down from our ancestors.
Our mission is to create work for fair wages for the women of Guatemala; to honorably support our families and communities; and to preserve and develop our cultural traditions through the maintenance of our textile arts and their histories.
Costs & Benefits
Volunteers at Trama can get involved with a range of projects, including but not limited to maintaining the fair trade store, doing public outreach and searching for new business contacts, taking photos and creating new publicity materials for the cooperative, redesigning the web site, working on Trama’s social media presence, writing grants and raising money for projects, designing new products, and writing articles for the blog, newsletter, and other outlets.
Volunteer tend to work on a task basis, which means that our hours and expectations of time commitment are flexible. We always need a full-time bilingual Volunteer Coordinator with a minimum commitment of three months- ask if that position is open.
Volunteers are expected to pay for their own travel costs, housing, and food. We do not charge a volunteer fee, nor can we provide accommodation, but we are happy to help volunteers find a cheap place to stay.
Monthly rent for a shared apartment tends to run around $100-150 a month, and food costs are also quite low in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala: fruits and vegetables are cheap in the market, and there are also plenty of inexpensive restaurants in town.
We have no minimum requirements, but in some of our projects it is useful to be able to speak Spanish. We are also looking for certain skill sets all the time, such as photography, graphic design, web site design, textile design, merchandising and marketing.
3a Calle 10-56 Zona 1, Quetzaltenango,
Tel: 502 3004 8101
Location: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Average cost per day: $5
Focus: Construction and Community
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, basic Spanish is useful but not essential