Corazon Story and Amigas de Corazon
Photo by Arturo Godoy
The Corazon Story and Amigas de Corazon
"We came here because of the war. I had to hide in the woods with my 2 week old daughter. I lost everything.” Those are the words of Bernarda, one of the 16 women of Corazon de Mujer, (Heart of Woman.) It was her words and the words of women like her that inspired me to move beyond doing short-term volunteer projects, to devoting my life to helping women in developing countries who were suffering from oppression and violence. My journey began 12 years ago when I was involved with several trips to Central America- Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. The name of this effort was "Women Walking Together.” The program worked throughout Central American to train women to be domestic violence advocates so they could recognize victims, listen to their stories without judgment, and to help them bring greater safety in their lives.
While doing this work, I met the incredible women of Corazon de Mujer (Heart of Woman.) They were survivors of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war, and had fled the highlands during the war, creating a cooperative to support each other emotionally and to work together to sell the beautiful weavings they had made. I spent one summer interviewing the women. My original intention was to explore the symbolism of scarves and to share their stories. However, I learned in the process that while symbolism is beautiful, it doesn't put food on the table or pay for children’s school fees. Eventually, I decided to create Corazon Boutique, an enterprise that values the work of the women, and recognizes that in developing countries, when women have access to education and financial stability, they can greatly improve the well-being of their communities in a multitude of ways.
In 2016, the project evolved into a Washington State nonprofit, Amigas de Corazon, whose mission is to empower women through economic, community, and educational development in Latin America. It strives to connect women globally, provide funding and technical support for community development and education, promote women's traditional arts, and educate the United States public about issues women face in developing countries. At this time, our efforts are focused in Guatemala.
Corazon Scarves and Accessories is now a program of Amigas de Corazon. All product sales are invested into new products and education programs in Guatemala. These education programs include a student sponsorship program and education enrichment workshops from weavers and their children at the Corazon Community Center in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.
Our board members are as follows:
Amigas de Corazon from left to right
Donna, Andrea, Carol, Debbie (ED), Ginny, Annie. Far right: Consultant, Anita Ordinez.
Every scarf purchased is a day’s income for a woman in a developing country.
A special thanks to the Club de Fotografia de Antigua Their photos of the weavers are featured throughout the site.