Friendship Bridge client since 2010; part of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® since 2016

Martina was one of seven born and raised in Chichicastenango. A Maya K’iche child, she was in charge of hauling water from the river to her home along with her siblings. Her mother was a weaver; her father sold crafts at the market. She attended school for three years, and her father didn’t see the value in education for girls.

The Artisan’s History
Martina's childhood was divided between learning to weave alongside her mother, helping her father sell crafts at the market, and doing housework. She was exposed to one of the largest markets in Central America (Chichicastenango), filled with artisans who passed their wisdom about handicraft production from generation to generation. At home, her mother taught her to refine her sewing and embroidery skills. 

The Friendship Bridge Impact
With Martina's first loan through Friendship Bridge, she purchased raw materials to expand the range of repurposed textile products that she manufactures, as well as a sewing machine. She now partners with a material distributor, so she is always prepared when new orders come in. This has allowed her to increase production capacity, grow her business, and help support her six children and grandchildren. She’s learned to pay close attention to small sewing details throughout the production process in order to maintain consistent quality. In a culture steeped in stereotypes regarding men’s and women’s roles, Martina partners with her husband equally in business.

Martina aspires to expand her business so that it can support her financially for the rest of her life.