MAYA FEMALE EMPOWERMENT -
A Rum Fellow is a design studio with a focus on using traditional methods and ethical practices to create outstanding textiles. The studio focus on small batch production of hand woven textiles and rugs. Their aim is to help change lives through ethical partnerships with extraordinary artisans, working with weaving cooperatives and social enterprises paying a really good price and also supporting artisans with training and other programs.
A Rum Fellow has been working with female Maya weaving cooperatives in Guatemala for 5 years helping to support and promote fantastic artisans and preserve the ancient art of Maya brocade weaving. The impacts of A Rum Fellow’s work can be seen in the cooperaitive in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan where the women are now better paid and have more consistent income that their husbands, who now support the women by helping with the setting up of looms, house chores and child care. “This change is very important to A Rum Fellow” explains co-founder Dylan O’Shea “as it helps preserve the art of Maya weaving for the future. It has led to women being empowered as they earn a great income using their weaving skills, they have the flexibility to maintain young families whilst earning too as they weave from home, and even the patriarchal balance of the community has shifted in a really positive way.” It has meant the men no longer have to leave their families for months at time to seek work on fruit picking farms in neighboring countries. The Maya artisans are now able educate their children and support their family through their weaving.