Help us Build an Eco-Artisan Women Center in Guatemala

Fundraising campaign by Laurence Tremblay
  • US$1,229.00
    raised of $20,680.00 goal
5% Funded
12 Donors
Time left
66 4 5
Raised offline: $3,100.00
Total: $4,329.00
You only have the opportunity to donate to this campaign before Tuesday Jan 31, 11:59 pm UTC
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**UPDATE:

$1,200 USD donation collected will go towards our bamboo and beekeeping skill training in March,2023

We are now raising $19,480 USD for the first phase of our women's center construction project. During this first stage, we will be building a communal space for women from La Union to gather, craft and share. The communal space includes of storage for tools and an outdoor area.

Our long-term vision is to add a kitchen, clinic, daycare, dormitory and reception.

Help us Build a community-owned center for indigenous women to receive skill training, gather, share and be part of creating a better future for their children.

Have you ever wanted to make a difference by giving back to the farming community behind the food you consume?

We believe that just like us, you want to give back to the local indigenous community of Guatemala as an appreciation to the land where you source the medicine of cacao, your coffee, your banana, and who knows, maybe even the rubber that makes your tires which drives you around town.

For women from La Union, a farming community-based in Chicacao Guatemala, it is a chance to gain economic independence, participate in the poverty alleviation of their village and offer their children a brighter future.For the environment, the support and development of organic farms mean conservation of bio-diversity, regeneration of quality topsoil, and protection of the water sources.

Guatemala is currently amongst the 10 most affected countries by climate change today (Germanwatch) and the local community, with your help, wants to take action. Every year, storms hit harder, droughts are more intense and heat waves stronger:


we invite you to support a more resilient farming culture and protect Guatemala’s farming communities from the impact of our global actions.


In 2020 there have been 457 femicides and 43,482 complaints filed in Guatemala with an ineffective response as 71% of murders go unpunished, and the rate increased in rural areas. The following year, the numbers were as alarming. On March 7th 2021, women were marching on the streets of the capital city asking for the protection of their lives. (El Pais) Immediate actions are necessary and women have to be part of the solution.

This women's center is one initiative that could protect the lives of many girls and women through financial independence and creating a safe space to share experiences and support.

Our goal is to start the construction of the women's center by January 2023 and open the center by November 2023. Every donation are extremely valuable to the purpose of this mission.

Story

Over 3 years ago Cacao Source started visiting frequently the town of Chicacao as we were collaborating with nearby organic small-scale locally own cacao farms. Throughout these years we could hear whispers of the 36 years of internal conflict in Guatemala and its impact on the town… it is still today a raw wound that impacts most lives. Every monthly visit, we will drive past the infinite monoculture rubber farms on the outskirts of the town of Chicacao. When we look up in the direction of lake Atitlan, a highland region up a range of mountains that was once the formation of a volcano and today known as one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, we see a green forest. We found out later that this forest is protected as a private reserve by a large-scale farm called Finca Milan. The farm has decided to only cultivate 20% of their land so they could protect the last spider monkey community on Guatemala’s pacific coast.

About a year ago, as we were developing Give Back to the Source non-for-profit initiative, we visited Finca Milan for the first time. We met the farm owner, and encounter La Union community, based between Chicacao and Finca Milan. Finca Milan was once known as a coffee farm, where the indigenous community from across the region would come to work during harvest season until the coffee market drastically decreased and the farm lost the liveliness it once had. Today, the farm is looking into diversifying crops and implementing sustainable practices. In collaboration with Finca Milan, who agreed to donate the women's center land to the indigenous community, we aim to include La Union community, especially women, in the vision of a prosperous sustainable future for all.

In May 2022 we met together: la Union community, Finca Milan, and Give Back to the Source for the community to express their needs and share about the future vision. With Give Back to the Source, we noticed how the women would speak quietly and the community was envisioning benefits for the children and the church. So we wondered what are the needs of the women.

We met again, this time only with a group of 15 women, and opened space for everyone to share their stories, their needs, and their dreams. The main expressed desires were education, health, and entertainment. The majority of the women were mid-aged and accompanied by their children. One of the participants Angelita shared: I would have loved to continue studying, but I barely made it to primary school. My family didn't want me to study, I was raised to be a mother, a wife and to serve. We don't know much, but what we do know; is that with the education you wake up from living asleep.” Our takeaway was that women of La Union are willing to learn skills to be resilient and are striving toward creating sustainable opportunities for future generations in the community. Growing up they were restricted in shaping their future. Gloria, another participant shared:’’I wanted to finish school. The same as Angelita, my mom didn't want me to continue after primary. I was better off doing the tortillas, helping my brothers’’.

Angelita and Gloria had a spark in their eyes when we introduced them to the potential of learning how to process cacao and learn artisanal work. The women expressed deep gratitude for having their voices heard and being part of the thought process of visualizing the potential future for women in the community. With Give Back to the Source we aim to support a sustainable future for Guatemala. We believe that a project such as La Union could be a catalyst for neighbor farms to understand the value of organic, diversified farming. La Union women's center can be an ally to Finca Milan’s sustainable development plan as well to all the nearby indigenous small-scale-owned farms. By creating the heart of the operations within the hands of a group of women, we can ensure that most of process before arriving at the hands of customers remains in the local community and therefore, the revenue as well. It will include processing, packaging, marketing, and distribution. It also allows keeping sustainable ethics under the guardianship of La Union women for eco-friendly solutions to the operations.

Meanwhile, the women of La Union will be active participants in the economy of their community and inspire generations of girls to create an economically independent future for themselves.

Project

Union Women Center is our first non-for-profit initiative with the goal to create a community-owned space where women may gather in a safe environment to connect and become financially independent through artisan activities. Indigenous women of the La Union community will be provided eco-friendly artisanal skill training to add value to local organic farm products. It will support both, small-scale organic farmers and indigenous women.

Located in Chicacao, cacao paste blocks will be a leading product as well, as dry fruits, honey, and bamboo furniture, which are all locally grown yields of the region and the women were enthusiastic to learn the skill set. We are planning to have a space allocated for a health clinic to offer essential services to the well-being of the community.

For the women, it is more than a place to work, it's a place for education, health, and recreational activities… something which hasn’t been available, until now.

For our passionate international cacao community, it is an opportunity to be part of the change that the Union Women Community is asking for and to bring back value to the town that was known as ‘’the gateway of cacao” during the Mayan Civilisation era.

Challenge

The cacao industry is facing a lot of controversies including child slavery, exploitative labor, illegal deforestation, and alarming soil deterioration. As cacao lovers, we all enjoy our guilty pleasure from a 2$ chocolate bar, but what is the true cost?

The cocoa industry is part of many agricultural industries using extensive monoculture to produce cheap and efficient production crops. Meanwhile, we face a global climate crisis at the mercy of these unsustainable practices. So, what are our alternatives?

In Guatemala, the cacao market remains in the shadow of large-scale plantations such as sugar cane, rubber, banana, cotton, and coffee. We believe with Give Back to the Source that the historical meaning of cacao, a native tree, is a leading factor in the disinterest of influential parties to invest in Guatemalan’s cacao market. Traditionally, cacao was known as prosperity, food of the gods, and literally ‘money’ that grew in the trees from the eyes of colonizers. For this reason, we believe cacao can be a catalyst for social, environmental, economic, and cultural change.

Furthermore, Chicacao, the hosting town of Union Women Center, was once known to be the gateway of cacao being located between the pacific and the highlands of Guatemala. During the 36 years of internal armed conflict, it was also a gateway, but this time, it was a gateway for the army to reach the indigenous highland communities. The town has lived through a lot of harm, like most indigenous communities in Guatemala, women suffered from sexual violence and abuse. The internal armed conflict has stopped but the abuse against women continued. Today, Guatemala finds itself ranked #4 with the highest femicide rate in the world. A vast majority of violence against women goes unpunished, perpetuating the cycle of crimes against them, leaving women vulnerable and unsafe. A Guatemalan feminist Sandra Moran shared that most women do not bring their abuse to justice because of a lack of financial independence.

The abuse against women and the environment are two of the largest challenges in the country. Today, Guatemala is one of the 10 most affected countries by climate change: it is urgent to save our soil from extensive monoculture and give a voice to women.

Solution

All donations of this fund will go towards the construction of the Union Women Center and eco-artisanal skill training for 40+ women to encourage agroforestry initiatives in the region, reduce gender inequalities and alleviate extreme poverty.

The center will be built by CASSA, a social enterprise specializing in bamboo & sustainable construction. The center will include solar energy, water collection & sanitation system. The model aims to give the community space with minimal fixed cost and maintenance.

Diversified, decentralized, and organic farming practices are our solution to the environment threat of Guatemala. Having indigenous farming communities and women as allies to take care of our earth is part of the solution. When speaking about a diversified cacao farming practice, we have to include a variety of different fruits in the forest and yields the farmer can profit from. For this reason, in order to give a sustainable solution for cacao farming, the development of a women's collective to process the cacao seeds has to include added-value products of other yields such as dry fruits, bamboo furniture, and beekeeping. This way we are optimizing the diverse forest and its revenue coming back to the local community. The local economy becomes more resilient compared to a single fluctuating market.

How Your Donation Will Be Used

When you donate to Give Back to the Source’s Women Center Fund, your donation will be used to:

  • Build a bamboo-made sustainable building answering indigenous women’s needs in La Union Community. A space where 40+ women can be trained in eco-artisanal skills to create economical independence.
  • Provide solar panels, water collection, and sanitary systems for the minimal intervention of the community in the maintenance of the center.
  • Support neighbor farms practicing or desiring to practice a sustainable farming practice by opening a new add-value market with their yields.

Trusted and Reliable

100% transparent policies and bi-yearly reports giving you access on our progress and challenges to keep you in the loop of your impact. You will have access to reports on our progress. We will give you news as much as possible so you may stay connected to the project. Union Women Center is accessible for all to visit and you will be the first to know when it opens its door!

The project is in partnership with Finca Milan, a local farm that has been operating for decades, and CASSA, a well-established social enterprise.

Give Back to the Source's Track Record

Give Back to the Source is an initiative from Cacao Source, a cacao producer social enterprise of Guatemala that is currently supporting 7 women collectives in San Marcos la Laguna including 33 women and their families. We are currently working with 5 small-scale locally owned farms and 2 of them have accomplished the organic transition with the support of local regenerative organizations.

In total, Cacao Source is currently impacting directly the life of 256 indigenous from Guatemala. The 5 partnering farms are absorbing about 1,888,000 KG of CO2 yearly, which is about twice as much as any monoculture farms with the same amount of cacao trees as our 5 small-scale farms could do.

We have observed that much more work is necessary, especially without any international for-profit influence, to support the empowerment of Guatemala’s indigenous communities for a sustainable future. Our social enterprise allows us to offer market and revenue opportunities for indigenous people living under the poverty line.

Rewards

A big appreciation

Every donation matters. We are extremely grateful that you support our cause and thanks to you this project is moving forward. THANK YOU, from the team and the women of La Union collective.

3 Backers
Gratitude Message

Receive from Give Back to the Source and the women of La Union community a thank you card. Your donation means a lot and can go a long way.

Thank you basket

We will keep you in the loop of all development of the program. Once the women\'s center is built and the women receive skill training, the success of the program will be celebrated with a homemade artisanal basket to you! Be generous and be patient, this day will come. We will celebrate together.

Cacao package & an open visit to the center

Cacao Source will donate 6 lbs of cacao shipped at your door with a personalized thank you letter from the team and the women of La Union. An open invitation for you to come to visit the center once it is built (or during the process), meet the women, and visit a nearby cacao farm.

Organizer

  • Laurence Tremblay

Donors

  • Emma Chow
  • Donated on Nov 13, 2022
$50.00
  • Clarice Winicki
  • Donated on Oct 18, 2022
  • Much love and respect for the work of these women in the preparation of Cacao!

$60.00
  • Anne-Sophie Kamaté
  • Donated on Oct 14, 2022
$111.00

No updates for this campaign just yet

Donors & Comments

12 donors
  • Emma Chow
  • Donated on Nov 13, 2022
$50.00
  • Clarice Winicki
  • Donated on Oct 18, 2022
  • Much love and respect for the work of these women in the preparation of Cacao!

$60.00
  • Anne-Sophie Kamaté
  • Donated on Oct 14, 2022
$111.00
  • Sophie Meylan
  • Donated on Sep 28, 2022
$100.00
  • Audrey Colbrant
  • Donated on Sep 26, 2022
$80.00
  • Dawn Simone
  • Donated on Sep 25, 2022
$20.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Sep 25, 2022
  • Excited to see these projects flourish!

$250.00
  • Anonymous
  • Donated on Sep 24, 2022
  • Congratulations for this beautiful Project !

$60.00
  • Sophie Meylan
  • Donated on Sep 24, 2022
$50.00
  • Theodora Engelhart
  • Donated on Sep 23, 2022
  • So much love to you! Thank you for your work!!

$100.00
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US$1,229.00
raised of $20,680.00 goal
5% Funded
12 Donors
Time left
66 4 5
Raised offline: $3,100.00
Total: $4,329.00

You only have the opportunity to donate to this campaign before Tuesday Jan 31, 11:59 pm UTC

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