Every so often we like to take the opportunity introduce you to a member of the cooperative, so you can see who is behind the beautiful products of Mayamam Weavers. Say hello to Miriam Perez who has been working with the cooperative for 5 years but only just recently became a weaver.
Miriam first became involved with the non-profit organization Grupo Cajolá, when she sent her two daughters, Rosy and Dayana to their preschool, “Teaching the Wisdom or our Elders.” As a certified teacher herself, Miriam understands the importance of getting a good education. While her daughters were attending preschool, Miriam offered to volunteer with Grupo Cajolá as a literacy teacher for the weaving cooperative. (Grupo Cajola was able to find funds to pay her.) She began teaching two classes in the middle of the day. Many of the women never had the opportunity to go to school, so the goal was to develop their academic skills so they could accept more responsibility at work. For some, it wasn’t possible to read the list of what fabrics needed to be woven next or to record their work hours.
During her time as a literacy teacher, Miriam also represented the weaving cooperative as a member of the board of Grupo Cajolá. Along the way, she learned more about the organization and the responsibilities of the board.
“Being part of the board of directors helped me to better understand my commitment to the organization and our goal to improve our community.”
Miriam continued to teach the literacy classes for three years. As the women passed their elementary school equivalency exams one by one, Miriam expressed interest in joining the foot loom weavers. She had always been weaving at home on a backstrap loom, as most Mam girls are taught to weave by their mothers. Once she joined Mayamam Weavers, she spent countless hours practicing on the foot loom, gaining confidence and speed along the way.
“At first it was very difficult, but with practice and determination, I have achieved my objective to be able to work on this (foot) loom.”
In February of 2019, Miriam was asked to take on the important role of Production Coordinator for the cooperative. She now has the responsibility of making sure that all of the products are delivered on time, coordinating the work between the foot loom weavers, the seamstresses and the back strap weavers.
As Production Coordinator, Miriam is also part of the Sales & Marketing Council which has representatives from the seamstresses, the foot loom weavers, the back strap weavers, marketing & sales, finances, and quality control. Every other week they meet to plan their work, talk about new products, discuss work issues in the different groups and make decisions.
Miriam is thriving in her new position and is proof that education is an important piece of the road to success.