Completed Partnership: Maya Traditions

Tradiciones Mayas (Maya Traditions) is a Fair Trade Social Enterprise (one of the few in the country) and a registered nonprofit located in Panajachel, a small town on Lake Atitlan in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. The mission of Maya Traditions is to empower and improve the quality of life for Mayan women artisans and their families and contribute to the preservation and promotion of traditional knowledge, art, and cultures in Guatemala.

Maya Traditions was founded in 1988 by Jane Mintz, an experienced social worker and weaver herself, after she began working with indigenous women artisans living in poverty who survived decades of armed conflict in Guatemala. Jane observed that their skill of back-strap weaving was a chance for them to earn a stable income for their families while working from home. Maya Traditions was founded to help these skilled artisans succeed and preserve their cultures through access to a fair trade global marketplace. In 1996, Jane founded Maya Traditions which works with groups of artisans in six indigenous villages in Guatemala. Maya Traditions functions as a social enterprise by helping get the textiles into the international market and by providing artisan development, community health, and student sponsorship.

“At Maya Traditions, we understand that when we invest in one woman, we are investing in a generation. The artisans we partner with are mothers and wives, and they manage their households as well as their family’s crops. In short, they are amazingly capable and strong, and welcome our support in realizing increased economic empowerment.” Here


GoPhilanthropic partnered with Maya Traditions in 2019, offering a pilot grant to create and deliver critical literacy education and leadership training for the artisans of several Mayan villages. However, this project had to be postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. They requested to re-purpose GoPhil’s grant for their Family Gardens Project, initiated in response to the pressing needs of the artisans for food during the crisis. GoPhil, backed by the support of our generous donors, was very happy to agree to this request as we are committed to flexibility and to supporting our partners’ most urgent needs.

The Family Garden Project directly impacted 24 women and their families across three communities. The women were trained on the production, maintenance, and use of garden products in their diets. In addition, the initiative allowed them to diversify their diets and prevent food and nutrition insecurity within the families. 23 out of 24 of the women were also able to produce surplus crops that they were able to sell within their communities for income.


This Family Garden Project has now come to an end – it was introduced as a temporary response to crisis management in Maya Traditions’ partner communities. However, its benefits for the 24 women and their families will continue beyond the pandemic as they now have a more sustainable way of living and greater livelihood opportunities.

Maya Traditions are currently going through an internal restructuring process. Whilst GoPhil is no longer providing financial support to Maya Traditions, they continue to participate in our Guatemala Learning Network and attend meetings and trainings.