Aj Quen – which means “The weaver” in Cakchiquel – is one of the oldest hand-weaving associations of Guatemala.
The organisation is formed of 27 associated groups, totalling around 800 people. They are all descendants of the four Mayan groups: Quiché, Cakchiquel, Tzutujil and Kekchí.
Of the Aj Quen craft workers, 96% are women, some of whom have been widowed by political conflict. They work with handlooms operated by foot pedals and on back strap looms. The women are able to work from home to stay with their families or have formed their own workshops.
Their weaving techniques have been passed through the generations and today they enable these women to create beautifully rich textiles and generate a regular income.
The organisation supports the women with training and education.