Meet Magdalena

Meet Magdalena

Meet Magdalena

Friendship Bridge client since 2001; part of Handmade by Friendship Bridge® since 2019

Magdalena has lived in Santa Catarina Palopó in Guatemala’s western highlands all her life, and only spoke the Mayan language Kakchiquel growing up. When her parents couldn’t care for her, she lived with a grandmother until age 13, who believed that girls did not need to go to school.

The Artisan’s History
Magdalena’s grandmother taught her to weave on a backstrap loom, and by age eight, she was a talented weaver. She married a skilled craftsman at age 15. The two developed their business together and sold handicrafts on the main street of Santa Catarina Palopó, often while carrying her disabled son on her back.

The Friendship Bridge Impact
Magdalena's business began to grow when her husband started selling their products on Calle Santander, the main street in Panajachel and a popular town on Lake Atitlán. But they didn’t have enough capital to meet the demands of their growing business, so Magdalena joined Friendship Bridge. With her first loan, Magdalena bought cardstock for handwoven note cards. It also helped her increase her range of products to include table runners, scarves, belts, traditional embroidered blouses, and shawls. Through Handmade by Friendship Bridge®, she’s seen her business grow, found friends who share her creativity, and has become highly motivated to create new designs.

Magdalena works so that each of her children can succeed, have wholesome food, and acquire  formal education.

    Will you donate to support our artisans?

    When you donate by July 31, your donation will be matched by a generous $3k distribution from the Marilyn Lone Endowment for Artisans.