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Fueling the Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Developing World
Pajebal, Inc. is a U.S. 501(c)3 non-profit organization
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Years in Existence: 21
Total Loan Portfolio: $ 5,552,000
Headquarters: Canton Paxtoca, Totonicapan, Guatemala
Xe-Ixtamayac, R. L.
The cooperative currently known as (translated) the Integrated Savings and Loan
Cooperative of Xe-Ixtamayac
has its origins in a small group of indigenous Guatemalan
weavers, or “tejedores” as they are called in their homeland, who in September of 1987
formed the
Association of Tejedores Xe-Ixtamayac. One of these tejedores, Pedro Jorge
Batz, had the idea to legally  “cooperativize” this association so that all participants would
have a say as to the direction of the group. The weavers quickly formed contacts and
gained attention for their craftsmanship. Some of their early projects of note were the
export of king-size mattress covers to the nation of Liberia in Africa, as well as the export of
samples of their intricately woven cloths to England. However, despite some early success,
the group was damaged by excessive inflation and poor economic conditions for their
country in the late 80’s, and the group was not to reignite as a force until the following
decade.

The group of “tejedores” reorganized in 1996, and on one fortunate day in June of 1998
the cooperative’s President was surprised in his office by an old elementary school friend
who had been working with development projects sponsored by the European Union. The
old friend proposed that through a program called ALA the cooperative would be able to
receive financial assistance, as well as technical support from trainers and advisors of the
development program, for the years to come. Everyone at the cooperative was excited
about the new opportunity. In 2001 they re-registered their group officially as a
savings
and loan
cooperative

Since those early days the
Cooperativa Xe-Ixtamayac has grown significantly, and
although ALA's program is no longer operating, the cooperative now stands as the second
largest cooperative in the province of Totonicapán. The cooperative has recently
completed construction of the first school in their community that teaches classes to
students at the middle and high school level. However despite their growth and
accomplishments, comparatively speaking, Xe-Ixtamayac’s total assets are only a tiny
fraction of what even the smaller Guatemalan banks manage, and thus the cooperative’s
officers feel their growth, and the opportunities it can provide the indigenous communities
of the western highlands, is still in its nascent stage.  
Cantón Paxtocá, Totonicapán, Guatemala
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