A Living Wage – Market wages for traditional handicrafts in Santiago are not high enough to prevent a family from living in abject poverty. JA will ensure the improvement of the economic well-being of our partner artisans by paying a wage approximately three to four times the local market rate for a day’s labor, that is, 30 percent or more above the Guatemalan non-poverty wage.
A Safe Working Environment – Many artisans in Santiago suffer vision problems due to long hours of detailed embroidery work in poor lighting. While we offer artisans the option of working at home (see below), JA also offers our partner artisans a cool well-lit area to work in during the day if they choose, bright lamps to use while working at night, and glasses for artisans with failing sight.
Building Capacity – Simply providing employment is not enough to support well-being. JA provides occasional classes in Spanish language and literacy, workshops on financial management, and education regarding sanitation and healthy cooking for artisans and their families.
Respecting Cultural Work Patterns and Nurturing Families – Working at home with sporadic hours is the traditional mode of handicraft production in Santiago. It would be culturally insensitive to demand eight hours of continuous work for five days a week, especially from single mothers. Therefore, JA has adopted output-based work requirements. When and how our partner artisans engage in their work is their choice to make. Additionally, JA allows and even encourages women to work from home, allowing them to care for their children throughout the day.
Investing in the Community – It is our belief that economic enterprise should benefit entire communities, not just a small segment of the population. JA shares the economic opportunity it creates with the broader community of Santiago through sharing all profits with the Natik Secondary School Scholarship Fund.