Sanik is an artisan cooperative located in the western highlands of Guatemala in the department of Sololá. The women of Sanik have united, using the art of backstrap weaving to express their cultural identity and generate income for their families. In the words of the artisans, "Weaving is our life. It is what allows us, the women, to put bread on the table for our children."
The name Sanik (saan-eek) comes from the Maya Kaqchikel word for worker ants. Kaqchikel is the language the women use to express themselves and conduct group business. The artisans chose the word sanik because "on their own ants cannot accomplish much, but as a group they can accomplish great things."
Together, they are able to join their resources and put markets in Guatemala and the United States within their reach. They have since accomplished incredible feats, such as creating global fair trade partnerships and implementing a scholarship program for their children.
Women in El Triunfo united to support their families, preserve their culture, and ensure that their children have more opportunities in the future. Over the years the cooperative has grown to twenty-five artisans, all of whom are skilled in the traditional art of backstrap weaving, which has been passed down through generations.
Sanik was founded by Juana Xoch, community leader, mother, and entrepreneur. Juana saw the potential her neighbors had for selling their creations in larger markets. Yet, most of the women of El Triunfo never had the opportunity to receive an education and do not speak Spanish, the language of the marketplace.
Sanik has created fair trade partnerships with stores in Guatemala and in the United States. The women have achieved incredible success and continue to work together towards a better future for themselves, their families, and their community.
Meet a few of our artisans from the village of El Triunfo, a rural community tucked away in the highlands of Guatemala. Our cooperative is unique in that the artisans truly work as a team, recognizing the power of working together for the betterment of their families and their community. Alone these women are powerful and talented individuals, skilled in their trade but unable to reach a market. Together, they have the collectively joined forces to improve their products and reach markets in Guatemala and throughout the world.
Sanik is led by President and Founder Juana Xoch and a dedicated board.
In 2012, the Sanik Cooperative decided to take an additional step towards investing in the future. As a group, they decided to save part of the proceeds from their sales and place them in a scholarship fund for their children. In rural Guatemala, it is common that children are unable to attend school because their families cannot afford supplies, transportation, or tuition costs for secondary school. This is particularly true for families in rural, indigenous communities. The Sanik artisans chose to dedicate the fund to providing high school scholarships and primary school supplies for the children of the Sanik weavers. A portion of each sale of the Sanik Scarf is dedicated to building the Sanik Scholar Fund. In January of 2019 approximately $400 in scholarships were granted to 15 students between the ages of 7 and 12.
Scarves for School: A new initiative to help bridge rural Guatemalan education and American universities. University students can directly participate in sending Guatemalan children to school through the purchase of artisan made scarves in university colors. The scarves for schools program helps provide sustainable work to the Sanik weavers, while also providing the opportunity for the children of weavers to attend primary and secondary school.