Miracles in Action and Beyond Beads’ mission is to
Today, the most pressing needs in Guatemala are very basic - FOOD and WATER. Not just to survive, but the right food and clean water for optimum growth, development and health. When 70% of children in the Western Highlands (where we work) are suffering from stunting and malnutrition, we must address this dire situation NOW. The effects of malnutrition are irreversible on growth and brain/IQ development in children after the age of two, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty for another generation. According to The First 1000 Days, we must focus on a child’s life from conception to 24 months in order to build a better future and ensure that “children are actually capable of learning once they get to school.”
Stop the cycle of malnutrition and poverty in Guatemala
Discover how buying handmade beads can change a family’s life and future forever.
EMPOWERING WOMEN is the key to permanent success. When artisans can operate their own home-based business earning a fair income, lots of good happens:
- Build self-esteem and taking pride in their craft
- Earn money to feed and educate their children
- Eliminate the need to seek work in the U.S.
Beyond Beads are BEADS THAT FEED…
Opportunities - Creating knowledge, skills, and resources to shape their own future through education and the creation of home-based businesses.
Health – Helping Families through clean air, safe water, and nutritious food. Through our programs we distribute vented, safe stoves, water filters, solar lamps, and conduct Nutrition/Health workshops.
Empowerment – Enriching women because earning money is a natural empowerment tool elevating their social status which in turn increases self-esteem, sense of achievement and gives them control over their life choices. Doing so, provides a pathway beyond what’s expected of them in a patriarchal society.
Beyond the Story
Hello, my name is Penny Rambacher, Founder of Miracles in Action, a 501c3 non-profit charity.
I’d like to share with you my story of why I began Beyond Beads, along with Miracles in Action.
As a flight attendant traveling to Guatemala, I saw locally made beaded jewelry for sale in tourist shops and decided to buy 50 bracelets to sell to my co-workers - using the income to fund my volunteer work in Guatemala. To my surprise, within a week, the bracelets were sold! So, I returned to Guatemala to find out more about the artisans creating such beautiful pieces of jewelry. I learned that women could do this work from home while taking care of their children, which resonated with me. So, I bought more, and before I knew it, Miracles in Action was in the Fair Trade bead business. I loved that women artisans were home-based entrepreneurs and this work built their self-esteem and social status in a country where men are the decision makers.
Often, the cottage industry is the only steady income for families. Many of the men travel to other areas working in sugar cane fields or hard labor in gravel pits or construction. Sometimes there is no work and the family suffers having no money to buy food. When the situation becomes desperate, poor Guatemalans take the dangerous trip to the US border seeking work so families can survive. Supporting cottage industry empowers women to help themselves, and keeps families together in Guatemala.
“Because you buy my beads, I can work from home, support my family, and my husband does not have to cross the border to find work.”
~ Maria, artisan mother with Penny
Maria was born in Santiago de Atitlan, where she is raising her two children. Maria didn’t attend school; therefore, she only speaks the native Mayan language in this area, Tzʼutujil. Employment opportunities beyond wife and mother are severely limited for woman unable to speak Spanish, the language of Guatemala. Several years ago, a neighbor taught Maria to bead jewelry, and this opened a whole new world to her. The flexibility of her home-based business allows her to bead in between making meals, cleaning, washing clothes and taking care of her children. Thanks to your purchases, Maria’s earnings made it possible to build a roof cover on top of her windowless small two-room house. The roof cover created an extra open space where she keeps chickens, dries corn for tortillas, and hangs laundry to dry. Also, Maria can now do beading with better lighting from the sun. More importantly, Maria can afford the school fees for her children to get an education and to learn Spanish, so that they will be the first in the family to graduate 6th grade! Just having a primary education will give them more opportunities for success in life thereby breaking the cycle of poverty - thanks to Maria’s beading skill and your purchases!
Help Beyond Beads’ artisans thrive!
Let’s end malnutrition and poverty in Guatemala!
Step 1: Buy the handmade beads and jewelry
Step 2: Support educational and nutrition/health programs for artisans
Step 3: You help educate a family and raise them out of poverty.
Donate to our program: Help us go beyond fair trade
Besides buying an artisan’s beads, you can sponsor a water filter, solar lamp, stove, or empowerment workshop!
$25 School Supplies
- Gift an artisans’ child with the supplies to attend school.
$40 Solar Lamp
- Gift a solar lamp so that children can do homework and artisans can see their work in the evenings. Safer than candles.
$45 Water Filter
- Gift a family with a 10-year water filter. The leading cause of death in children is dehydration and diarrhea from drinking dirty water. Filters save lives.
$75 Empowerment Workshops
- Classes cover women’s health, nutrition, cooking, self-esteem building, and more. Each woman receives incentives for participation, like a recipe book, cooking pot and of course, a healthy lunch.
$125 Safe Stove
- Gift a family with a safe, vented stove replacing open-fire cooking inside the home. Save trees, lungs, and lives.
Donate to Miracles in Action