Friendship Bridge client since 2006; part of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® since 2018

Lidia grew up in the rural community of Cipresales, in a family of 11 children (second born). She had to miss more than a day of school each week to help at home, and eventually had to drop out after completing the fourth grade. 

The Artisan’s History
By the time she was eight, Lidia was already making her own beaded jewelry designs—a skill she attributes to having spent time watching her father, from whom she also learned sales techniques and business management skills. Her father and older brother sold handicrafts in two other departments in Guatemala; Lidia often worked with them to help with the family’s income. At 15, she began making ornaments because she wanted to create different designs. Today, Lidia beads a variety of jewelry, ornaments, and animal figurines by hand, using a needle and thread. Her biggest challenge is standardizing colors for her products when certain bead colors aren’t available.

The Friendship Bridge Impact
At 19, Lidia married a man who worked in a convenience store. Together, they started as a small handicraft shop in Panajachel. Lidia joined Friendship Bridge because she needed resources to help her business grow. Through her involvement with us, she has also learned about empowerment, self-esteem, women’s rights, and business management skills. In 2017, her store in Panajachel was robbed. Pregnant with her second daughter at the time, she lost everything, including materials and finished products for sale. Friendship Bridge staff walked alongside her, and through business training and hard work, she gradually rebuilt her business. She and her husband began traveling to 15 different locations to sell their products, with a focus on community fairs at which sales were higher. She employs both men and women in her community.

Lidia’s main goal is to provide education for her two daughters through high school. She plans to support them if they decide to go to college later on.