We are a Fair Trade organization focused on sustainable fashion and social impact. We strive to increase the opportunities and quality of life for women in the Western Highlands of Guatemala while preserving the traditional art of back-strap weaving. Mixing indigenous and sophisticated, contemporary designs, we create modern sustainable fashion products that maintain centuries-old traditions, cultural symbols and weaving techniques.
We are a social and labour inclusion organization that employs and empowers people with disabilities in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. Our five areas are the Alma Café and Restaurant, our organic garden, the bakery workshop, the sewing workshop and the jewellery & craft workshop. Here are some of our handmade jewellery pieces. We hope you enjoy!
My family and I are descendants of the T’zutujil Mayan ethnic group and we operate a weaving shop in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala. I learned the art of backstrap weaving from my mother, and now I weave with my daughter Marly. We draw on the colours of nature and are inspired by our culture to make textiles that are full of colour, life, energy and love!
Hola, my name is Pablo Marroquin and I am an artisan from Pastores, which a town near Antigua, Guatemala. I have been working in leather craft for 35 years, and started from a very young age. Everyone in my family works with leather, and we all got started as a way to support our family. Today, I sell my leather products in Panajachel, Guatemala.
Our cooperative is made up of 16 young community guides and 28 families of artisans who create the products we sell in our gift shop. We strive to create sustainability, opportunity and cultural preservation in San Andrés Xecul. We want to develop community leaders who can promote the value of the Mayan worldview in youth and children.
The Backpacktivist’s Food Guide was written by a collection of Operation Groundswell’s partners and friends, and compiled but us here at OG. It is a digital publication that features dozens of unique recipes created with love by our global community. It is packed with their knowledge, ambitions and missions, and of course their favourite foods!
For centuries, Mayan women have been weaving on the back-strap loom to create clothing for their own families and for local sale. Each community has its own unique designs and patterns that are particular to that region, and the techniques and patterns are passed along through generations.
To use the loom, the weaver meticulously prepares the threads on a frame that is then positioned around them using a strap around their back. While it be made of simple parts, preparing the loom and executing intricate designs takes great skill and experience.
Isabel is a Mayan Indigenous backstrap-loom weaving teacher, textile-lover, and Yabal’s Store Coordinator in the Yabal shop in Xela, Guatemala.
In her own words, she says that, “Mayan clothing in particular is closely tied to our culture as it is an important expression of spirituality. You could say that it is in fact a language that expresses wisdom, full of meaningful symbols based on ancient knowledge.” The intricate designs woven into each textile tell the stories of their lives, their ancestry, and their community.
It’s one thing to see the finished product; it’s an entirely different experience to learn how it is made from the artists themselves. On our Mayan Roots program in Guatemala, we’ll stay with the women who have mastered the art of back-strap weaving. We’ll also…
In a time where the delivery of goods from halfway around the world to your doorstep is normalized, we at OG want to ensure that the products we bring are done so with the earth in mind. That’s why we’ve worked hard to optimize our supply chain so that your stuff doesn’t spend half of its life in transit, contributing even more to carbon emissions. We purchase the products from the makers, and send them to you. That’s it. When we keep the planet top of mind, we all win.