Hey everyone! I'm Shabria Williamston,and I am an aspiring anthropologist raising funds to support Aj Quen, a non-profit weaver's association located in the small town of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. I have been developing a relationship with the organization since 2016, and spent part of my summer in 2017 residing at the organization, and interviewing the indigenous women with which they are partnered.
Aj Quen is a non-profit that works as a sort of «middle-man» between indigenous weavers and consumers in far away markets like the U.S. and Europe. Aj Quen receives an order from a boutique or individual for a number of woven goods. They then send the order out to groups of women who work as weavers in other parts of the country like the region of Solola. The women complete the order, then bring the finished products back to Aj Quen for inspection. Once the goods have been counted and cleared for quality, the women are paid for their work. The pay they receive through Aj Quen is significantly higher than the pay they would receive by selling their products in local markets, as consumers in Western markets are higher in number and are usually able to pay higher prices for the same goods. Unfortunately, for various reasons, orders coming in from foreign markets are becoming fewer and far between, and the organization is struggling to stay afloat.
On Sunday, June 3 2018, Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) in the West of Guatemala erupted, leaving dozens dead, at least 130 missing, and hundreds displaced. Many of the communities in which the women of Aj Quen reside were greatly impacted by the force of this natural disaster.
On Wednesday, June 13 from 5-7pm, I will be hosting a raffle at The Littlefield (located on Spring Grove in Northside) on behalf of Aj Quen to raise money for the organization. Participants will be able to purchase tickets to bid on items of their choosing. We will be raffling off craft beers, wines, tasty treats, yoga passes, art by local painters, and other goodies. 100% of the funds will go to Aj Quen, and allow them to provide relief to families in need, as well as continue to provide work for women in light of the tragedy. Please come out to support a small, international non-profit which uses 100% of its funds to support its partners, and to support The Littlefield as a local business!!!