I have worked with Sharing the Dream as a volunteer for the past 15+ years. I have visited Guatemala several times and have seen firsthand how this organization effects the lives of so many families in that country. I like that this organization is about equitable relationships where both peoples learn from each other. The ultimate goal in this partnership is sustainability for the Guatemalan families.
The mission statement of Friends of Sharing the Dream in Guatemala states that it is a “volunteer-based fair trade organization that reduces poverty in Guatemala through collaborative partnerships with Guatemalans." I have had the honor and privilege of seeing this mission in action firsthand during two visits to the Elder Center in Santiago Atitlan. After my first trip to the Elder Center in November 2013, I began volunteering by selling Elder Bead Shop jewelry in the United States. The jewelry is beautiful, and people love it! Not only does the sale of the jewelry provide fair trade wages to local ladies in Santiago Atitlan, it also provides financial support for the Center itself.
In the four years I have served on the board of Sharing the Dream in Guatemala, I have seen the organization's operation from every angle. Last year I took a delegation to Guatemala to visit the cooperatives that produce the high-quality products Sharing the Dream sells--traditional Maya weavings, functional and decorative wood carvings, ceramics, blown glass and more. I start every morning with coffee from Sharing the Dream.
Everything STDG sells is top quality, and everything is Fair Trade. But STDG goes well beyond merely marketing crafts that help indigenous people survive; All profits from sales are returned to projects we support in Guatemala--meals and health care for impoverished elders, scholarships for deserving students, design and business training for crafts cooperatives and more. Because our slim overhead expenses are paid by sales, every penny donated to STDG goes directly to fund projects that help people improve their lives and their communities.
Best of all, STDG empowers people to achieve self-sufficiency. Our goal is to help individuals, cooperatives and communities create products for the world market, and where possible, market their work themselves. When our friends in Guatemala no longer need Sharing the Dream, our mission will be complete.
I have traveled with Diane and found that her policies are based on authentic power for those who are a part of her program. Everyone is responsible to each other and the outcomes are agreed upon in the beginning. Diane continues to keep volunteers and supporters of her program updated on what is happening here and in Guatemala. There is no hidden agenda, transparancy is the valuable tool so that all can participate at their own comfort level. With Sharing the Dream you can be sure your money is well spent. This the best nonprofit, all monies go to the program and not the directors. Elaine
We have been been doing display/sales for several years now. People are so grateful to see and share the handmade items. They tell us how high quality they are and that they're reasonably priced. Having visited Guatemala and met many of the artisans, we can tell their stories honestly. We have many items of Sharing the Dream art in our own home. Sharing the Dream helps mothers -- many of them widows from the recent protracted civil war -- feed their children and send them to school. Sharing the Dream also helps orphans and senior citizens.