The weaving cooperative Ruth and Naomi is located in Chontola, near Chichicastenango. Widowed artisans weave bright lengths of cloth on backstrap looms. Young men, trained as tailors, sew this cloth into finished products such as vests, bags, wallets and briefcases. These artisans are determined to ensure the survival of their families, their village and their culture, which they represent with the brightly woven floral designs in their textiles. 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.
The Ruth and Naomi Project emerged out of the terror and desperation of Guatemala’s civil war. With the help of local Methodist pastor Diego Chicoj Ramos and his wife, Juana, some widows banded together to support themselves and their children through sales of the community’s traditional woven crafts. Of the initial group of 18 women, all had lost either husbands, fathers, or both to the government’s “scorched earth” policy of the 1980s. In 1986, the Methodist Project of Ruth and Naomi was officially founded. The name was chosen because it spoke of two widows from the Bible who were without resources, but who worked and survived.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases Christmas stockings, tree skirts, cushion covers, glasses cases, bags and purses from Ruth and Naomi. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Ruth and Naomi since 1993.
- Artisan Products