Weaving Friendship One Gift at a Time
Marion and Linda are friends and co-founders of Amigos Del Mundo.
Amigos Del Mundo was started to make a small difference in the world.
We design, produce, and sell beautiful, hand made wine bags from hand-woven fabric.
We create jobs for some of Guatemala’s very skilled but under-employed weavers and crafters.
We use some proceeds from the sales to do charitable work in Guatemala.
We call our product a Friendship Bag.
The Friendship Bag is meant to be re-gifted and passed along to friends and family. As the Friendship Bag is passed from person to person, it becomes a testament to how closely we are connected in the pleasure of Friendship. Throughout the world, people are directly connected to friends, family and community, but the things we buy also effect the world we live in. By purchasing our product, our customers are also connected to the Guatemalan workers struggling to meet the basic needs of their families.
We celebrate the pleasure of good company: friends and family coming together.
We promote re-gifting to affirm our concern for the environment.
We promote consumer awareness. Since each purchase helps to keep our weavers and crafters working.
Though we are just a little company, we believe that many people, contributing in small ways, can make a very big difference in the world.
How we got started…
We spent some time in Guatemala in 2010. While we were there we were struck by the warmth, and beauty of the people, but at the same time we were aware of the level of poverty experienced by many of the Guatemalan people.
One of the pleasures of visiting Guatemala, aside from its rugged beauty, is the kindness and friendliness of the people. We became ever aware of how much we had and how privileged our lives were in comparison. Being there, we wanted to find a way to make a difference.
Guatemala has a long tradition of weaving. The fabrics to be found there are quite varied and beautiful. The weavers are skilled, but in this age of high-tech machinery and the mechanics of the global economy, skilled weavers are woefully under-employed. It is very hard for them to earn enough to meet the needs of a family. In Guatemalan families are large, typically with 5 children.
Marion came up with the idea of using local Guatemalan fabrics to create wine bags. She could envision beautiful, elegant wine bags to take to dinners to her friends’ homes. She thought of all her friends at home and how much they would enjoy receiving a bottle of wine in a unique gift bag. It got her thinking how her friends make a difference in her life. Then the idea came to her that if we used local weavers and craftsman to make our wine bags, we would make a difference in their lives. Helping a families make a living was one goal, but we wanted to do more. We decided to pledge money from the sale of each bag to go directly back for charitable work in Guatemala.
We gave our project the name, Amigos Del Mundo, Spanish for Friends of the World.
But we weren’t finished yet. We thought that the Friendship Bags, as they came to be called, would be too attractive for our friends to just stuff in a drawer. We should encourage them to re-gift the bags. To pass them on to their friends and families when they came together. With that, came the idea of the book. The book should stay with the Friendship Bag, we thought, as it gets passed along. The book would tell the story how it was passed along. We laughed when we thought that the person at the front of the book wouldn’t know the person at the back of the book but would realize that they were still connected. Finally, we realized that people would be curious as to how and where the bag travelled. The last idea, let them track it on our web site.
Our bags have now been tracked to North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – not bad for the first year.
Our work has been spread out to help five families make ends meet. Our goal of taking money back for charitable work was initiated when we returned to Guatemala in 2011. Benefitting 31 families with childrens shoes and very critical school supplies was a dream come true for us.
We are starting small and dreaming big. We have had so much encouragement and help from our friends. Thanks so much for your intestest and support of our project. With your help and support, are
“Weaving Friendship One Gift at a Time”.