The money they earn goes for their educational needs, and Unbound gives the belts to young sponsored girls in Guatemala as a birthday gift. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
Claudia, one of the sponsored youth and scholars in the group, says it means a lot to her to make these belts for sponsored girls on their birthday.
“I mean, doesn’t everyone want something they like for their birthday? I have pushed my creativity in my designs, colors and patterns and I think the birthday girls appreciate this,” she said.
The weaving process begins with the simple step of choosing the right colors for the belt.
Here, Claudia selects colorful threads for the belt she’s creating.
Next, the girls use a warping board to lay out the design for their belts.
“We use a warping board to lay out the thread and determine the color combinations and thickness of the belt,” said Maria, a sponsored youth and scholar from the group.
Depending on the design, several colors will be used to make the belts.
Once the colors have been laid out on the warping board and the belt reaches the desired thickness, it is ready for the next step: the back-strap loom.
In the first picture, sponsored youth and scholar Lisbeth removes the threads from her warping board and begins to attach them to one side of the back-strap loom.
One side of the loom is attached to a fixed object and the other is attached to the weaver, usually by a strap across the back. Hence the name, back-strap loom!
In the second photo, Unbound sponsored friends and scholars Maria and Mayra are getting the back-strap loom ready to weave a belt. Maria is making sure the top is attached to the pillar and Mayra is preparing to attach the other side to a strap for wrapping around her back.
In the first picture, Mayra, right, leans back as she weaves to make sure the threads remain taut. This helps create a well-formed belt.
The other picture shows a close-up view of Mayra’s progress. You can begin to see the finished product of the blue belt as it wraps around the sticks.
Each belt usually takes 4 to 6 hours to make, depending on the design.
Thanks to this group of girls for making a young girl’s birthday an extra special one.
Luis Cocon, Unbound communication center liaison in Guatemala, contributed information to this report.
By Veronica Batton, Unbound writer/editor