GuatemalanHuipils.com is an internet based business of importing merchandise from Guatemala. It all began when JoAnn Paulsen moved to Mexico at a young age and lived there for over 28 years. She studied fine arts and archaeology and worked as a photographer, artist, and designer. This is how she discovered her love for fun, vibrant color. In 1993 after the death of her good friend and mentor Barry Greenburg, the founder of “Trouble Dolls,” she moved to Guatemala. Barry dedicated his life to importing worry dolls and other merchandise from Guatemala to sustain the economic needs of the artisans and families who live there. JoAnn has imported from countries worldwide, such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, and Peru. She imports mainly from Guatemala today because she fell in love with the good-hearted Guatemalan people during the year she lived there and has witnessed first hand the hunger crisis that has caused Guatemala to have the highest rate of malnutrition in the western hemisphere.
It is not just genetics that is the reason 50-80% (in more rural areas) of Guatemalan children are 6-8 inches shorter than they should be. Children are not receiving the amount of nutrients needed for their bodies to develop which is causing stunting of growth both physically and mentally. It is causing kids to drop out of school, and a lower IQ later in life means a lower earning ability in the future. Aid is not always available to these rural communities, and when supplements are provided, they generally do not contain the nutrients required for children in their first 1,000 days of development. In addition to being insufficient, these supplements generally have to be combined with water which often is contaminated.
By purchasing merchandise through this website you will be contributing to the fight against poverty and hunger in Guatemala. Every item sold means money for the family of the artisan who created it. We pay very fair wages based on the national wage standards. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from purchases on this website will be donated to organizations that are focused on: Bringing aid to rural areas and providing the proper food with necessary nutrients, educating families on the skills they need for a better future and offering means of better employment, and sponsoring a year’s worth of school supplies and funds needed for each child to stay in school.
You can read more about some of our favorite organizations and programs on the Charities tab on our site.
JoAnn Paulsen has been visiting and has lived in Guatemala for many years, and has come to know the land and the people very well. She often takes groups of people on tours throughout the country and provides hotel arrangements, transportation, and security. She speaks the native language and knows all the magnificent sites and places outsiders are interested in seeing. More information about these guided tours can be found under our ‘tours’ tab.
JoAnn Paulsen and Andy (the worry doll maker) recently had the pleasure of meeting Alvaro Colom, the president of Guatemala, at the New World Craft Exhibition. Take a look at our photos on FACEBOOK