The organization, Socio Economic Outreach, works with the women of Toledo to refine and market their crafts, particularly the popular jipi japa baskets. Last November the first exhibit and sale was held in Belize City to help the women weave their way out of poverty. The second Toledo Market Day was held today with a much wider variety of products on sale, including jewelry, embroidered pieces and paintings. According to the Manager of Socio-Economic Outreach, Dorla Bowman, the participants must meet a high level of quality before new products are marketed. Bowman says that most of the artisans are women who live in remote villages and can’t leave their families behind to travel with the organization. But they do reap the benefits of their hard work since all the proceeds of the sales go to the persons who make the items. News Five got a look at the impressive crafts on sale at the Radisson.
Dorla Bowman, Manager, Socio-Economic Outreach
“This is a special event that we have named Toledo District Market Day. These are special products, goods done by artisans and entrepreneurs in the Toledo District. We’re hoping at least on a quarterly basis to have an event like this. We’re also hoping that people will see the goods and products and place orders for wholesale so that they can sell it in their businesses.”
“So what are some of the products that you brought out today?”
“Some of the products that we have are coffee—and 49 all these things are made and locally grown and produced in Toledo. We have the famous ground pepper which is smoked and ground, coffee, cacao powder, coffee beans, honey, spice seeds. We have bowls from rosewood be it for kneading purposes or other purposes. We have baskets made from jipi japa and also hand bags made from jipi japa. We have several items that have been hand-woven like cuxtals, like bags, cushion covers, embroidered stuff with the national symbols and other Mayan symbols. We have Maya blouses; the traditional Maya blouses. We also have what we call culture shirts with embroidery on it.”
The Maya Jipi Japa Basket Poster was also available for sale for the first time today.