The COVID-19 pandemic has overturned our lives and routines, forcing everyone into a new state of “normal.” As a business, we’ve had to re-strategize, temporarily put off new orders and pivot offerings to stay afloat. While we’ve been fortunate enough to see it coming, and have had reserves to fall back on, our efforts to sustain the livelihood of our artisan partners have not been enough.
Amidst everything, what is so unsettling for many people is the novelty of this crisis. However, for many indigenous people from Guatemala, what is unsettling is not the novelty of it, but the fact that it is eerily reminiscent of the past. The decades-long Guatemalan Civil War. Followed by a decade of poor harvest conditions in the 1990s. An onslaught of natural disasters, including catastrophic mudslides. All of which has forced the relocation of entire communities throughout the 2000s. COVID-19 is just the latest national disaster for Guatemala. And this type of repeated upheaval leaves more than just economic and logistical damage, but imprints psychological trauma that persists across generations.
During our time in Guatemala, we had the opportunity to meet Pixan (meaning ‘spirit’) who along with Highland Support Project first established its Association of Women of the Altiplano region (AMA). AMA was launched to create emotional support spaces for indigenous women to begin to combat these years of multi-generational trauma. With them as our inspiration, this Ramadan, we launch HOPE— our initiative to support emergency food assistance and community outreach to rural families in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.
10% of proceeds from every purchase made during the month of Ramadan will be donated to PIXAN & Highland Support Project (HSP). Once the funding is collected, Pixan and Highland Support Project will provide logistics planning and transportation to connect women's circles; purchase the horticultural products from AMA's greenhouses and local stores; and distribute to rural communities.
Today, Association of Women of Altiplano and Highland Support Project are still working to support these women amidst the latest crisis. They are taking actions to respond to both their immediate needs, such as unexpected food supply and distribution of critical health information, and to long term sustainable solutions for food and economic security.
The women we work with are incredibly resilient and perseverant, and their strength combined with our continued support will get them and their families through this. We HOPE and believe that you will keep these communities and their work in your hearts by supporting us in the ways in which you are able.
Jay + Yulia