Help Replace What Was Stolen
42 indigenous Ixil women of the Cotzal Weaving Cooperative were robbed last month and need your help to put back the pieces of their lives.
After 27 years of struggle, hard work, and success, the cooperatives door was broken open on the night of August 12th and their materials, products and computer were stolen. The cooperative was in the process of raising money for wood-saving rocket stoves for it’s members when this news shocked the weavers and their supporters.
The accompanying video was filmed for the rocket stove endeavor, but the robbery has re-arranged our priorities. (Due to the urgency of the matter we do not have the time or resources to film a new video). A police report was filed and can be seen below- however, the justice system in Guatemala is very complicated, at this point there are no suspects or signs of governmental effort to find the perpetrators.
The cooperative has outlined below the materials it needs to once again begin their dreams again from scratch. Any additional money raised will benefit the stove project.
“I lament with the pain in my heart that we feel a great sadness here in Cotzal, right now we are very sad to keep up the struggle in such a humble town, where the poverty affects us all. This was a horrible act. If you people can do something to save our organization it would be a blessing for all of the women here. Thank you for sharing in our pain and our tragedy, may god bless you…”
About the Cooperative
San Juan Corzal is a medium sized town, high in the mountains of the Ixil triangle, in the department of Quiche. The people of Cotzal are indigenous Ixil and speak the Ixil language. This region suffered tremendously during the 36 year civil war in Guatemala. 40-50% of Cotzal's residents died from violence, torture and disease by the time the peace accords were signed in 1996 and tragically, the area is recognized as one of the hardest hit by the genocide.
The Weaving Cooperative was formed in 1986 when widows from the war organized their weaving talents into a powerful show of resilience. There are 45 women involved and they use the traditional backstrap loom method to weave their products, which often utilize natural plant dyes. The Cooperative is a sign of hope for the survivors of the war and is a pillar of strength, resilience and empowerment for the community, and the generations to come.
'�Of course, the cooperative has many goals for the future! The women dream of strengthening their activities and developing new ones, like a tree growing towards the sky. The women, as always, are the �roots� of the tree, and their textiles are the trunk. From here, they can grow their plans like branches. They want to buy land and construct the cooperatives buildings together, where they will have a school for their activities and training. There, they will be able to teach the young kids about weaving, have a store and an exhibition space for their work, and a diner-café where they will serve their traditional foods to visitors. With enough sun and rain, they hope that one day their dreams will come true.�' - website of Cotzal Weaving Cooperativehttp://www.tejidoscotzal.org/US/index.html
The Most Urgent Needs
PETITION OF THE 42 WOMEN OF THE SAN JUAN COTZAL COOPERATIVE
San Juan Cotzal, Department of Quiche, Guatemala
With these, the cooperative could successfully start back up again.
- YARN- materials for the elaboration of textile products to replace what we have lost and to be able to commercialize in different stores within Guatemala. These materials are the cornerstone of our ability to sell products and generate a source of income to maintain the cooperative for the future. Yarn is purchased in Quetzaltenango, 5 hours away from Cotzal. This benefits the 42 women of the cooperative who make the weavings, trying to find a new life. ($32 x 42 units = $1344)
- IRON- An iron is used to iron the products to prepare them for any necessary machine sewing and to prepare the products for sale in market and to clients. An iron is purchased in Nebaj, 45 minutes from Cotzal. (2 x $64 = $128)
- ZIPPERS- Utilized for purses, coin purses and other products. Zippers purchased in Guatemala City, 7 hours from Cotzal. ($1.25 X 700 units= $875)
- LINING- Used to line finished products like shoulder bags, coin purses, wallets and other products that need a similar finishing. Purchased in Guatemala City, 7 hours from Cotzal. ($1.25 X 500 units = $625)
- COMPUTER- Utilized for contact with clients, sending photos of products by internet or skype, maintaining an archive of information, contacting student groups and volunteers that work with the cooperative, generating new orders by internet to minimize the amount of trips the women need to take outside of Cotzal. ($630)
- WAGES- 42 women had their products robbed from the cooperative, and to be able to repay them even half of what they lost, simply in the interest of keeping themselves and their children maintained, as well as Juan, the seamstress. ($625)
Thank you SO MUCH for your contributions.
Here is the police report: