In 2004 Manuela visits Guatemala for the first time. She is struck by the overwhelming multitude of colors, the abundant and sweet smells, the emblematic volcanoes framing the horizon and most of all – the energy. Fascinated with the country, the culture, its people and the stories they have to tell, Manuela falls in love with Guatemala’s magic.
The exquisitely vibrant colors are what first strike Manuela. Colors are abundant in this fertile country and are manifested in its handicraft, inspired by the many species of flowers and animals.
The gentleness and genuinity of its people is what strikes her next. This is noted not only in the way they say “thank you” – “para servir le” (to help you) but also in the painstaking and detailed patterns of each piece.
Manuela’s desire to learn about the culture and its people grows. She is compelled to stay. The more she discovers about the country and its heritage, the deeper it takes her into the country.
She discovers more about the typical Guatemalan patterns used in each piece. Each identifies a culture, a people, and a tribe. Each is absolutely unique in its combination of colors and form.
All pieces are hand-made using a loom and all have a story to tell.
Manumaya – Made with Love
Each article has its own history. The number of evenings that were undertaken to complete the article – the stories told, the conversations had and the songs sung while it was being produced all influence the final result. Using these ancestral techniques, each piece takes many days (sometimes months) to complete.
Manumaya works only with local artisans who chose the ancestral ways of working, using traditional Mayan patterns. We prioritize the use of traditional dyes and dyeing methods delivering only quality pieces.
Fair trade as described by “Fairtrade International” is an alternative approach to conventional trade.
The Fair trade standards are designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, securing a better deal for farmers and workers. Manumaya is follows the standards and business ethics of Fair trade International.
After having received so much from this country, Manuela is committed to give back to the communities and people who devote their lives to their craft.
Manuela travels to Guatemala each year evaluating both the individual families and communities she works with. Her objective is to actively contribute to those in which she feels she can make a real difference. She then chooses to work with these.
In addition, each year, Manuela identifies different non-profit organizations who contribute to the community. After observing the community needs and speaking to several individuals, she selects NGO´s who she knows make a difference in local peoples lives and supports these.
For each product purchased by you, Manumaya commits to giving a % of its profits back to the communities, supporting local artisans and helping guarantee the longevity of the original patterns and traditional methods.
Manumaya is currently in the process of evaluating which NGO to support in 2016. A list of the supported institutions as well as detail of actions and support will be shared shortly.