Marta Sulema Socón Sacuj from Guatemala
“Before starting the Embroidery Program, I didn’t know how to draw and it was challenging to learn. But I learned that not everything in life will come easy, rather that there are things that will be difficult. And the difficult things are worth more. I value my work because it has truly helped me to get ahead.”
Marta, 34, lives with her husband and four children in Patanatic, a small, rural village close to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The area is mountainous and houses are typically built on a hillside. Apart from agriculture (coffee, corn, fruit, vegetables; and raising poultry) economic opportunities are few. As a result, many people work outside the community in construction, restaurants, and hotels.
In 2016, Marta happily accepted Multicolores’ invitation to join the Embroidery Program. It was particularly gratifying for her because alongside acquiring embroidery and design skills, she was also trained as a teacher equipped to train other women in the technique. Marta has since formed an Embroidery group with women from her local community.
Of working with Multicolores Marta says, “working with Multicolores is not just a job for me because it’s been a fundamental part of my life, in which ‘I’ as a woman have achieved many things! I have a good job, I manage my own time, I’m with my children, and each month I have income that helps me to pay for my family’s expenses. I’ve seen many positive changes in myself and the other artists through our work with Multicolores. We feel valued and have a new confidence in our own capacity. In Guatemala, since ancient times, there have existed many prejudices against women, many think that as women we have little more to contribute than being a housewife. Now I realize that gender equality is crucial to achieving development in our communities. As women we are capable of making great contributions to our families and to society.”
Importantly for Marta, her embroidery is a source of great pride. Her pieces, inspired by nature and Maya heritage, are a way for her to keep her rich cultural history alive. She loves embroidery because it enables her to express herself freely and creatively. She hopes to always be an enterprising mother, supporting the needs of her family, investing in her children’s education, and always innovative in her work.