WE ARE IBU IN ACTION:
We funded equipment, including a computer and printer, along with thread, supplies and materials for 78 artisans.
The Ibu Foundation provided food and water for disaster relief from the flooding due to storm Eta. Their backstrap looms was destroyed, so we replaced them as well.
In 2004, the Peace Corps worked with the Somac community in Coban, Guatemala to assist with medical care, and that’s when the artisans’ weaving skills gained visibility internationally. The Peace Corps volunteers decided to help this group of 15 women start their own cooperative, and that’s how the Ixbalamke Cooperative was formed. The cooperative leader, Amalia Gue serves a key leadership role in fostering engagement, and innovating weaving products to be more commercially viable. She also started a mentoring program to teach youth how to weave and continue their artisanal craft.
The women have a special weaving technique called “Pij’bil.” A "Pij" is a think bone from a deer that is used to separate the extremely delicate and thin cotton threads to introduce the brocade weft designs. The result is an almost translucent fabric, very transparent and beautiful.
The remote village of Samac, Coban in Guatemala, was completely devastated by the flooding caused by Storm Eta in November 2020. Nearly 100 artisans and their families took refuge in a small chapel during the flooding, as their community was completely wiped out. They had little food and clothing, and limited access to new supplies, but with the help of nearby villages and our ibu donors, they are beginning to rebuild from scratch.
We Are Ibu has provided emergency relief and funds for computers and a printer, helping to grow their cooperative and expand their marketing. We were struck by the photos from the flood, and the more we found out about this amazing cooperative, the more we wanted to help these inspiring women.