One of the first artisans to partner with Mercado Global, Julia Par Yaxon began working with Executive Director Ruth DeGolia when she was 18 years old, and she still has vivid memories of Ruth playing with her oldest son, Sergio Rodolfo, when he was 4 years old. Now he’s about to graduate high school and attend university to achieve his dream of becoming an accountant.

According to Julia, Mercado Global has come a long way since then, as have the women from her cooperative, Tejiendo Conocimiento. Partnering with Mercado Global, they have been able to learn new techniques and improve their products, accessing new markets and a better income. Says Julia, “Mercado Global has allowed us to better understand the story and value behind our traje, our language, and our way of life. We are able to learn the intricate weaving techniques of our ancestors, and preserve our culture that is slowly disappearing.”

In the future, Julia says she hopes to see more demand for the products she makes using these techniques, as her community still suffers. “I hope that more women participate in our cooperative, and aren’t forced to wait for their husband’s income. I know how difficult it is to support my two sons through high school. I see other women that have many small children, and it’s extremely difficult to provide food and clothing while also sending them to school.”

Julia notes that for her, Mercado Global not only provides a source of income, but a reason to be proud of her talents and heritage. “Among our community, we are the leaders and we have a respected reputation as women artisans. Mercado Global has empowered us to be leaders within our community, and given us the opportunity to preserve our culture and make it known to the world."