On a warm April afternoon, I had the pleasure of meeting Glendi Patricia Martin Tol, one of fifteen Mercado Global artisans working in the Artesanas Mayas cooperative in San Andres. We chatted outside on the porch of the cooperative president’s home as Mercado Global staff prepared the kitchen for a technical culinary training for the artisans.  

Glendi has partnered with Mercado Global for fourteen months and specializes in embroidery work. The 27-year-old mother of two said that this is the first job she has ever had. Until now, her husband has been the only one working, making an income for his family through construction work.

Then, last year, Glendi’s sister told her about the Artesanas Mayas group and encouraged Glendi to learn more.

“I went to see how it was and I liked it,” Glendi said.

She added that she felt joining the cooperative could be a unique, valuable opportunity. She decided to join and now says that she is very happy doing this work and earning an income. While she began with some sewing and embroidery skills, she has since expanded and improved her skills through Mercado Global’s technical trainings.

Although she can’t read or write, Glendi’s eyes sparked with hope as she spoke of her dreams for her children's’ futures.

My daughter says she wants to be a doctor. That's what she says, but we'll see how it goes, depending on the means,” Glendi said.

As we chatted, Glendi’s 3-year-old son ran and giggled in the yard with the other artisans' energetic children. Glendi told me that her main incentive for working is to be able leave her children with something like a house or land with which they could start their lives and find success.

As Glendi paves the way for her 7-year-old daughter’s future of tending to others’ health, she is also learning how to care for her own. She said that one of the most impactful trainings that she has received from Mercado Global has been a lesson on cervical cancer and how it can be prevented, detected, and treated.

“We liked it because we didn't know some of the things they taught and so thanks to the training we know now,” Glendi Said. “We like learning and we want to learn.”

Glendi said that her favorite part of partnering with Mercado Global, beyond the opportunity to learn and progress financially, is the community that it has allowed her to be a part of.

“I like being with the other women and doing what we do together,” she said. “I enjoy working with them.”

As our conversation closed and Glendi rose to join her friends and co-workers in that day’s lesson, she said she hopes to continue working with Mercado Global in the future. At Mercado Global, we hope for the same:  to continue partnering with talented and passionate women like Glendi to help them make them and their children’s dreams realities.