Friendship Bridge client since 2007; part of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® since 2018

Antonia hails from San Jorge La Laguna, one of the smallest villages in the department of Sololá. Raised by her grandparents after both her parents abandoned her, Antonia was treated with affection and was taught the importance of hard work. She was only able to attend school for three years. 

The Artisan’s History

Antonia's grandmother taught her to weave sashes, huipiles (traditional Guatemalan blouses), and traditional textiles at a young age. By age 10, she was earning income. Everyday, Antonia and her grandmother went out to the courtyard of their house to weave on backstrap looms. With each handmade item they completed, Antonia’s grandmother immediately took it to the market in Sololá to sell. 

The Friendship Bridge Impact

In 2007, Antonia needed to invest more in her jewelry business, so she joined a Friendship Bridge Trust Bank—a cooperative in which women borrow money as a group to co-guarantee the loan. Since then, Antonia has been able to grow her business and improve her living conditions. Thanks to training from Handmade by Friendship Bridge®, Antonia is able to successfully export her products to markets outside of Guatemala. Her and her husband’s combined incomes meet the needs of their eight children. She has learned the value of knowing how to effectively manage a business, how to meet customer demand, and how to diversify her offerings.

Antonia’s goal is to support the needs of her large family. She shares that she feels a greater sense of empowerment since joining Friendship Bridge.