Artisan Organization: Manuel Obin
Country: Central America
"My name is Manuel Obin and I was born in 1994 near Antigua Guatemala.
"I've been surrounded by wonderful people who have been with me every step of the way. People consider me to be pleasant, collaborative and friendly.
"I love creating ceramic figurines and have been doing this since 2011, when I met a man who worked with clay. I became interested and wanted to learn, so he taught me the process. One of my dreams was to be my own boss.
"One day, while experimenting, I built my own kiln, and set up a workshop in my home. I felt really proud of what I'd achieved and wanted to teach my friend and classmate, Jorge. I knew he also wanted to improve his life, and he still helps me sometimes me around my workshop. People sometimes asked why I chose him and my reply was, 'He's my friend and, together, we've been in difficult situations, but we share the same passion to work hard for what we want and we both have big dreams and goals. To me, this is the beginning of everything. If you don't dream, you don't need to work hard and life turns gray. Although a lot of dreams may seem impossible, there's nothing worse than giving up.'
"I learned all of this while working to finish my studies. It was a difficult path because of the lack of time and money. My mother, however, didn't give up and always worked hard to make sure I had the essentials. She's a person I admire and love with all of my heart because she also taught me and my siblings that humility is the start of all good relationships. We didn't have any luxuries, but they're not necessary. Having my family together is everything for me and I don't ask for more.
"I craft my ceramics by hand with love and dedication. I want shoppers to like them and fill a space in their home with something colorful and pleasing. I also want to earn more so that I can teach a lot of people so they can have a source of income. There's no better way for my country to prosper than to incentivize people to improve their lives.
"I want to be an agent of change, create work and opportunities, and be a seed of change in the lives of many people.
"Working with Novica has made me very happy since it's a sign that my work is beautiful and I can prosper through crafts. I love to create and innovate. It's a big step for me and it's very exciting. I hope people enjoy my designs so we can grow together.""