Mayan Textile Artisans In Guatemala Producing 10,000 Medical Masks A Day & Providing Hope

Image courtesy of Ethical Fashion Guatemala

Like many nations around the world dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, Guatemala has closed its borders in an attempt to contain the Covid-19 virus. Guatemala relies heavily on the tourism industry which means many areas of the country will suffer. 

Beautiful Lake Atitlan, located in Guatemala’s southwest corner, is one of the premier tourist destinations; yet today it is a ghost town, cut off from the rest of the world. 

With a long history of community service and community-based problem solving, the Mayan Textile Weavers of the Lake Atitlan region have found a way to contribute to the health of others around the world and create an income stream for their communities, in particular for their neighbors who are lacking in basic food needs. 

Lake Atitlan artisans are textile producers. Therefore, they looked for ways to use their skills to help their community and others elsewhere in the world in this challenging time. With the help of businesses around the world, these artisans are now producing high quality Medical Masks for sale. They are not looking for charity; they need work and a means to create income for the region.

Guatemalan Medical Masks Supplies for Covid-19. Image courtesy of Ethical Fashion Guatemala.

The medical masks are produced using two-ply, natural cotton. Sold in packs of 100, 250, and 500, larger quantities are available. The masks cost $5.00 per piece including shipping to the US and Canada. Masks are shipped using the Ethical Fashion Guatemala DHL Global contract. Delivery to the United States and Canada is in three to four business days, worldwide in five to seven business days. 

Masks are sold directly to hospitals and medical groups in need; there are no wholesalers or brokers. To deepen the community impact of this endeavor, twenty cents (20₵) of every mask sold will be donated directly to Mayan Families, a 501©(3) non-profit organization that has worked in the Lake Atitlan region for 15 years. Donations will provide food support and ongoing malnutrition prevention and treatment to those in need in the region.

Production of medical masks at a shop in Panajachel, Guatemala, called K Frans. The owner is Francisco Domingo Tzul Tzul.

Heather McManus, US Advisor to Ethical Fashion Guatemala, has already sold over 1000 masks made by the Mayan Artisans and is helping to get the PPE to those in the medical community who need it right now. She is in awe of what they are doing.

“The welcoming spirit and big heart hugs I have received from the people of Guatemala have made me fall in love with the country. As the Covid-19 pandemic has unfolded, being involved with the Ethical Fashion and Guatemala Hope medical masks initiative has enabled me to do my part to give much needed work to Mayan Artisans and protect those at high risk in my home state of Arizona,” she said in a statement.

During this time of global crisis, many people are doing what they can to help ease the burden being placed on the medical professionals on the frontlines. What the Mayan Artisans are doing shows the incredible value they have not only in the textile industry but to the country of Guatemala itself and the rest of the world.

Production of medical masks at a shop in Panajachel, Guatemala, called K Frans. The owner is Francisco Domingo Tzul Tzul.

If you are interested in learning more about their mask production, you can purchase directly from organizations via the websites below:

Los Tarrales strongly supports local artisans and entrepreneurs in the area, which is why we have also decided to offer masks on our website. The need for masks worldwide is immense at this moment in time and we are proud to be part of this movement to provide masks that solve a problem and support local artisans around Lake Atitlan, where we call home.

Ethical Fashion Guatemala is a sustainable enterprise providing banking, credit card processing, and shipping services for Mayan Artisans in Guatemala. 

Top of the Lake Coffee Roasters wholeheartedly supports small farm coffee producers, local artisans, and entrepreneurs in San Juan la Laguna and the greater Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. We are eager to collaborate with the Ethical Fashion Guatemala medical masks initiative because the masks will provide authentic work and crucially needed cash flow for the artisans who create them.

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