The weaving cooperative Ruth and Naomi is located in Chontola, near Chichicastenango. The project emerged out of the terror and desperation of Guatemala’s civil war. With the help of a local Methodist pastor and his wife, some widows banded together to support their families through sales of the community’s traditional woven crafts. Of the initial group of 18 women, all had lost husbands, fathers, or both to the government’s “scorched earth” policy of the 1980s. The name was chosen because it spoke of two widows from the Bible who were without resources, but who worked and survived.
Scholarships make it possible for teens to complete high school in Chichicastenango while living in the project compound. Some have gone on to complete university degrees. The project has also started a health and nutrition center. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Ruth and Naomi since 1993.