Meet Oralia Chopen
This International Women's Day we caught up with Oralia, President of Trama Textiles and lead weaver behind some of our gorgeous pieces to get a glimpse into life as a weaver in Guatemala.
What inspired you to join Trama Textiles?
I was inspired to help the other women who were victims of violence by the armed conflict in Guatemala.
Can you tell us about Trama Textiles and your role in the Cooperative?
Trama Textiles is a 35-year-old women's association that is dedicated to helping women through the sale of their artisanal products. The association is currently creating new projects to support education with scholarship programs, as well as combatting malnutrition in Guatemala, all with the help out our foreign volunteers. I Oralia Chopen, am the president of the association and am in charge of the administration of Trama Textiles.
What does being president of Trama Textiles mean to you?
For me, it means a great responsibility both for the women weavers and the people who support us.
Why is weaving such an important practice for women in Guatemala?
Because thanks to weaving the indigenous women in our country are able to make a living.
What does Trama Textiles hope to achieve long term?
To have more market and clients to be able to sell more products and thus be able to help women economically.
What do you think is the biggest problem facing women in Guatemala today?
Discrimination against indigenous people and all women in our country. These are problems that make it almost impossible to be a developed country.
Trama Textiles is an association of 400 artisan women from 17 weaving co-operations across Guatemala. The association was formed in 1988 after some of the most devastating years of the Guatemalan civil war. The civil war was a time when most of the men from the communities disappeared: grandfathers, fathers, brothers and sons. During this time, the women united and decided to use their skills as weavers to support themselves and their families. This led to the birth of Trama Textiles.