Worry dolls (also called trouble dolls; in Spanish, Muñeca quitapena) are small, hand-made dolls that originate from Guatemala. According to legend, Guatemalan children tell their worries to the Worry Dolls, placing them under their pillow when they go to bed at night. By morning the dolls have gifted them with the wisdom and knowledge to eliminate their worries.
The story of the worry doll is a local Mayan legend. The origin of the Muñeca quitapena refers to a Mayan princess named Ixmucane. The princess received a special gift from the sun god that allowed her to solve any problem a human could worry about. The worry doll represents the princess and her wisdom (source commonhope.org).
UPAVIM is an acronym for Unidas Para Vivir Mejor, “United For A Better Life.” This group of women lives in a squatter community named La Esperanza (“Hope”) on the outskirts of Guatemala City. In 1989, UPAVIM was organized to offer much needed health and educational services within this community, where many families had fled from Guatemala’s civil war and overpopulation in the capital city. Since then, the organization has grown to include income generation programs, including handicraft training and production, a bakery, a soy product production, medical clinic, pharmacy, medical laboratory, growth monitoring program and tutoring program for families with limited choices.
For member women artisans, craft work is fit into a daily routine of child care, housework and volunteering in other programs at the UPAVIM community center.