Las Casas was founded in 2012 with a dream to help make life more fair for back-strap weavers and artisans in Guatemala. The name Las Casas was devised in honor of Bartolome de Las Casas, but also translates from Spanish to 'the homes.'
The basis of Las Casas was formed on three ideals and values. First, a passion for the beauty of Latin culture. Second, a hope for justice and fairness. And third, a quest for truth and reconciliation.
We have seen first-hand the damage that can be done by entering a community, handing out a one-size-fits-all aid package, and then leaving. We know that communities deserve better; and thus grew our passion and commitment to Fair Trade. We have clearly seen over and over that Guatemalan artisans are smart, hard-working, incredibly talented, and very capable. [Meet the artisans we support here] They just need new market opportunities and resources to earn a sustainable living. In the old proverbial saying, “teach a man to fish,” we have found that Guatemalan artisans already know how to fish, but the market is so saturated and limited that they are fishing in a desert.
We have been traveling to Guatemala since 2007, when we actually met each other on a service missions trip. Most recently, we volunteered long-term at NGOs at Lake Atitlan between 2011 and 2012. Our experiences traveling, visiting, and living in Guatemala have helped us develop relationships with indigenous people and artisan groups, whom have inspired us to build a lasting connection.
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David graduated from Anderson University with a major in Criminal Justice and a double minor in Finance and Peace and Conflict Transformation. He believes Las Casas allows him to utilize his interests to bridge cultural differences, and develop social entrepreneurship opportunities both in Indianapolis and in rural areas throughout Guatemala. David's philosophy of simplicity is to live by needs, as he explains, "our needs are simple, our wants are complicated."
Jenny graduated from Anderson University with a BA in Biology and International Studies, and later received her Masters in Public Health from the IU School of Medicine. She has a deep rooted belief in fairness, a unique ability to learn foreign languages, and a willingness to cross barriers in her effort to support indigenous communities. When discussing a call to action, she once said, "Poverty will always exist around us, and those of us with the most resources are most prone to separate ourselves from poverty. It gets too messy so we walk away, because we can. We must fight this tendency. We must step out of our comfort zones, even if we fail. We must try."