Oxlajuj B'atz // Thirteen Threads // Trece Hilos

Rating: 4.88 stars   8 reviews

Issues:

Location: Casa Kaqchikel Calle 14 de Febrero Solola 07010 Guatemala

Mission: The mission of Oxlajuj B’atz’ is to facilitate processes for Maya women artisans to bring about change, through their own efforts, that will alleviate the adverse effects of poverty and improve their quality of life. Our mission is guided by the principles of harmony, democracy, and sustainability. See how we carry out our mission through our educational programs and at our Maya Women’s Center. Through the encouragement of Oxlajuj B’atz’, our members become empowered by increasing their knowledge and skills. Their participation in democratically run cooperatives with other women they trust and respect provides them with the ability to earn a sustainable income, which is beneficial to both their families and communities. See how we are realizing our vision through our institutional strengthening efforts.
Results: Since its establishment in 2004 Oxlajuj B'atz has expanded its reach from 185 Mayan artisans in 12 cooperatives, to over 500 women working in 29 different cooperatives. Since 2004, we have delivered 1,600 workshops in our four main focus areas. These workshops include: costing a product, developing a product catalog, group promotion, growing and using medicinal plants, and women's political participation.
Target demographics: Indigenous female artisans of Guatemala
Direct beneficiaries per year: At the moment our work is directly benefiting 175 women per year.
Geographic areas served: Oxlajuj B'atz works with 20 communities in 7 different departments of Guatemala, including: Solola, Chimaltenango, Baja Verapaz, Quiche, Totonicapan, Quetzaltenango, and Suchitepequez.
Programs: Are main programs focus on health, artisan and product development, democracy and team building, and small business.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

This is an umbrella organization serving 700 Mayan crafts women. their latest environmental impact may seem small .. It is creating and distributing reusable - non paper - sanitary supplies to women. The disposable items cost them 12 quetzals ..that money be better used to feed the family.

Their home, Lake Atitlan, is a world heritage site that has been degraded over the past 20 years by the incursion of Gringo products. The oxygen level measured in the 1970s was 7.00 ...now it is teetering at .3.

The women make their money from creating artisan goods to sell to tourists. If the lake goes, that income will stop.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get them technical training and classes in Disaster Risk Management. I cannot mark the questions below but yes I would continue to volunteer for them and yes they use me well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have watched the women who are members of this organization change over the past 8 years. When they started with Oxlajuj B'atz (Thirteen Threads), they lacked the confidence to speak freely or even more than a whisper. Now, years later, they are mentoring new groups and turning OB into a member owned and operated association that is managed and directed by a General Assembly of all indigenous women. The intention of OB is to help women gain the skills they need to improve their economic situation. Empowerment and confidence-building have proven to be an essential first step in their success. I remember a story that one women told when her community group was meeting. She said that before she started working with OB, her neighbor used to yell at her and steal her things and she was too afraid to speak up and stop her. But after a year of workshops at OB with other women like her, she went to her neighbor and said, "I don't want you to ever treat me badly again and if you try to take any more of my things, I will call the police." She felt so proud of herself when she did this and said it had changed her life and the way she looked at her opportunities. There is no denying that poverty still exists for many of the women in OB, but the small changes that provide the basis for the bigger tipping point are happening on a daily basis. It's a very inspiring organization!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

This organization is impressive for the effort it makes to empower it’s individual members and enable them to identify their own learning needs while they are acquiring skills for a sustainable future. Since most of the members have little formal education, this approach requires significant energy to develop creative strategies that allow members to achieve their goals within the framework of the organizational mission.

Toward this end Thirteen Threads provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to help members work toward one or more of their stated goals. Needs assessments provide the groundwork and dedicated, talented staff provide enthusiastic support. So volunteers are then free to use their own skills in an atmosphere that fosters learning and growth. It’s a great chance to work with a dream team while making a difference!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

The four months I planned to volunteer at OB quickly turned into 10 months. The work was rewarding and the staff formed an incredibly supportive community, that even after 10 months was hard to say goodbye to. I learned so much from the women OB supports, probably more so than I actually contributed. They continue to be an inspiration to me and the many other people that have passed through Casa Cakchiquel.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

I joined Oxalajuj B'atz' for 10 weeks over the Summer of 2012 to work on their Monitoring and Evaluation systems. My professional background is in Government Statistics and I was keen to come and work with a small NGO to see how they manage the challenges of information managament and evaluation on the ground. And Oxlajuj B'atz' impressed me. The foundations for a robust M+E system were set up by the previous M+E Director, but the day-to-day data collection and quality control was managed by a small team of community faciliators who managed this administrative task on top of a wide remit of responsibilities. I offered my time to analyse and collate the information that was all readily available, and wrote an Impact Report for Oxlajuj B'atz'. The work, passion, and dedication of all those involved in Oxlajuj B'atz (from the CEO, Development Manager, community faciliators, volunteers and of course the many many indigneous Mayan women who are at the heart of Oxlajuj B'atz') was humbling, and it was an honor to dedicate my time to writing about them and their successes. I wish Oxlajuj B'atz' full success in the future as it works towards its' goal for empowerment and education of indigenous Mayan women. It is not often that within such a small organisation or group of people each and every individual is not only a pleasure to talk to but also an inspiration.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Volunteering for three months at Thirteen Threads was hands-down the most formative, influential, inspiring experience of my life. From day one, I was welcomed with open arms by each and every one of the organization's staff members - some of the kindest and warmest women I have ever had the opportunity to meet, let alone work with - and I constantly felt that the work I was assigned was both highly substantive and crucially important to the organization's mission of sustainable, holistic, community development and women's empowerment. Words simply cannot describe Thirteen Threads to give it the credit that it deserves!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

This summer I had the privilege of spending 8 weeks volunteering with Thirteen Threads. I had the chance to see a remarkable group of passionate and talented women working hard to improve the lives and opportunities of other women. Each project is carried out by a dedicated team and their impact is clear to see; the women they work are given the confidence and skills they deserve and need to improve their own lives. Thirteen Threads gave me the chance to see the difficulties that women in their communities face and an incredible insight into the work they do to combat them; all done with a smile as well!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My time with Thirteen Threads has been incredibly influential. It is hard to explain an experience that has shaped my perspective so profoundly. I can say that I am honored to work with such a large and diverse community of talented and good-hearted women. I can also say that OB’s mission of female empowerment through education and support is holistically central to all that takes place there and is a mission that I have been thrilled to help along, in all ways possible. Last week I attended a graduation at OB. It was a group of around ten indigenous women who have been taking rug-hooking classes at OB for the past three years. In graduating, they are now ready to be teachers in their respective villages, which will increase their own livelihoods as well as any and all of their students’. It was a very happy and moving day with so much promise and excitement for the future. It is projects like these that make OB such an incredibly unique and important non-profit.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?