Microcredit: The Lopez Family Potters

JustHope has been visiting the potters' village, San Juan de Oriente, for several years. Over these years, a friendship and partnersip was formed with the Lopez family potters, Cándida, Fanor, Isaias, and Leandro.

  • Lopez Family
    Lopez Family in front of their kiln.
  • Lopez Kiln
    Preparing the kiln for firing.
  • Lopez store
    The Lopez pottery store.
  • Lopez products in the store
    Pottery lines the shelves of the store.

Fanor and Cándida learned the ancient art of pottery making from their grandparents, who learned it from their grandparents… “We don’t use machines,” Candida says, “We are artists in the ancient way of our Mayan ancestors.” Potting isn’t just a business for the Cano-Lopez family… it’s a treasured family art. “I hope my grandchildren’s children are still keeping this art alive,” Candida says. “It is part of who we are.”

In an effort to keep this art alive, even through the difficulties of poverty (when the arts tend to die), JustHope issued two microloans. The family used the first loan to build their own ovens. Over time, this has helped decrease their costs because they do not have to rent space in their neighbor's oven or wait 2-3 weeks for their turn to use it.

The lease was cancelled where they had been renting retail space for several years, and without a store, they would have had no way to sell their ceramics or feed themselves. And so...the second loan was used to build their own store which opened in July 2013.

This video details the ancient process that is used for every piece including the many hours and incredible talent invested.