Nanaimo’s Louise Sosa, founder of Aldea Maya charity, sets up sewing machines in Chuk Muk, Guatemala earlier this year. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Nanaimo charity helps to create fair-trade job opportunities abroad

Aldea Maya works with Rotary club to start sewing operation in Guatemalan highland village

A Nanaimo-based charity has found another way to try to make a sustainable effort to improve people’s lives in a far-off village.

Aldea Maya delivered, earlier this year, five industrial sewing machines and three other related machines to a small operation in Chuk Muk, Guatemala, in a region impacted by a 2005 mudslide that killed more than a thousand people.

The charitable project was funded by Rotary International, through the Lantzville Morning Rotary Club. Aldea Maya ensured the right machines were bought, delivered and set up in Chuk Muk, and trained workers there how to use the equipment.

Louise Sosa, Aldea Maya founder, said the project has created a dozen direct jobs, plus spinoff jobs for others in the village who do weaving, embroidery and beadwork. She said there are no easy ways for the Tz’utujil Maya people to make money there.

“They love it, and they’re so empowered because these women can’t read or write or even speak Spanish, so they have no opportunity to get any other kind of job,” Sosa said. “That they’re able to operate these different industrial machines and make things, they’re pretty proud of themselves.”

The workers have a partnership with Mercado Global, a non-profit that connects indigenous artisans in Guatemala with international clients.

Micaela Pablo, interviewed in an Aldea Maya video, expressed thanks and said the women are hard at work.

“Now we are so happy because we have a monthly income that we did not have before this project,” said Pablo, according to a translation. “For me, this means a lot because it benefits me as a mother, to support my home and my children to continue studying.”

Sosa said Aldea Maya is a registered Canadian charity that has been working on garden, nutrition, education and sustainability projects in the Guatemala highlands for 11 years. For more information, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 17

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

City of Nanaimo wants to examine child care availability

Council votes to apply for provincial grant, but not all members of council agree

Police officer recounts car chase and takedown in Nanaimo drive-by shooting trial

B.C. Supreme Court trial sees RCMP officer testify about multi-jurisdictional car chase

Crime Stoppers received more tips last year than the year before

The City of Nanaimo has proclaimed January as Crime Stoppers Month

‘Nanaimo is next’ for urgent primary care centre

B.C. Health Minister says new centre coming in next few months

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Nanaimo Women March On with a message that matters

A range of voices will lead the conversation at Jan. 19 event downtown

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Most Read