Launched in 2014 as part of the initiatives of the Juan Bautista Gutiérrez Foundation (FJBG), its Nutrition Program seeks as a major goal to benefit thousands of families in the communities of Totonicapán in Guatemala.
The implementation of this Program seeks a generational change that will benefit and advance the health of the community. This initiative follows the principles of Food and Nutritional Security that provides resources that help reduce the current rates of chronic malnutrition. Following these principles and the Sustainable Development Goals is one of he Fooundation’s Board of Director’s guidelines, under the auspices of vice-president Felipe Bosch Gutierrez.
From 2017 to 2019, the FJBG successfully reduced by fifteen percent the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children ages 2 to 5 years in San Cristóbal Totonicapán.
In addition, this Program has also encouraged local entrepreneurship with one example being the revival of traditional weavings through its training.
As part of the Nutrition Program and its Entrepreneurship emphasis, a course was created entitled, “Mujeres tejedoras de Pabellá parte de las Artesanas de San Ramón” (Women weavers of Pabellá within artisans of San Ramón), in which women learn how to produce fashion handbags as finished products using local fabrics and textiles as raw materials.
A total of thirty craftswomen were trained in the course using raw materials provided by the foundation. The initiative comprises part of the FJBG’s strategy to promote the growth and expansion of the capacities of the weavers of San Ramón, Totonicapán in Guatemala.
While participants use e a variety of fabrics for a single supplier, the Nutrition Program motivates these same artisans to create original, value-added products.
Sara Elizabeth Batz Salanic de Tax, one of the many women entrepreneurs participating in the FJBG Nutrition Program, is a wonderful example of a success story, thanks to the opportunities provided by the Program’s training sessions.
Thanks to the foundation, Sara had the opportunity to participate in the handbag course, where she learned five designs for women’s handbags. The trainer motivated Sara to develop her unique handbag designs. Excited and eager, Sara appropriated the training, then focused on creating additional customized handbags.
In 2002, Sara’s venture began. With only one sewing machine, Sara has been able to design traditional clothes, skirts, and embellishments for huipiles and aprons. Sara has also made rugs, blender and microwave covers, tortilla liners, and tablecloths over the past years.
“With my company, I seek to revive our textiles. I always like to implement something traditional: a small square, a triangle, etc. It is possible to make the most of scraps. Everything is valuable for creating new projects, whether it’s a traditional bow, headband, earrings or key chain” says Sara.
Today, Sara Elizabeth Batz sells her products well beyond Totonicapán. She has also exhibited them at fairs and participated in expo sales. She recently sent a collection of handbags for sale in the United States, with the hope of presenting her products at an international market, to present the variety and beauty of Guatemalan weavings. These typical weavings have great cultural value.