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2014 Iscol Lecture: Maria Pacheco, Monday, October 6, 2014

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WAKAMI: A Value Chain that Connects and Transforms People and the Earth
Maria Pacheco, General Manager and Owner, Kiej de los Bosques

Monday, October 6, 2014
Statler Hotel Ballroom

In this talk, Maria Pacheco, co-founder of Wakami, will share how this value chain is transforming people and the environment. Wakami is a lifestyle brand of fashion accessories that invites people to Create, Design, Enjoy . . . Be their dream!

Wakami currently works in 17 villages in Guatemala, providing sources of income to 450 people (90% women), and exporting products to 20 countries in the world. With increased income, women invest in opportunities and make the purchases they need to improve the lives of their families and communities.

To enhance the quality of life and make the villagers’ dreams come to life, the Wakami Village Program partners with other social businesses and NGOs to improve education, health, nutrition, and the environment.


Maria Pacheco is the founder and CEO of Wakami Village Partners. Born in Guatemala City, Maria and her family moved to the United States at the age of 12, returning home at 16 when she began working at a refugee camp.

After completing her undergraduate studies in Guatemala, Maria studied Biological Agriculture and received her Master's degree in 1993 when she again returned to Guatemala determined to address her homeland's perpetual famine.

In 2004 Maria founded Kiej de los Bosques S.A., a business dedicated to connecting rural villages with local markets. The program’s success convinced Maria to expand into international markets, and eventually create opportunities for rural communities in other countries around the world. In 2006 Maria joined with her cousin Queta Rodriguez to create Wakami, and the dream was born.

“My dream is my destiny.  I dream of a world in which the sound of the wind against the trees, the songs of birds from their nests, the jump of a lizard from one twig to another, the footsteps of a tiger in the soil, the breeze of spring in the home, and peace between brothers and sisters are everyday events.”

Today, Maria Pacheco is the guiding inspiration behind the Wakami brand, the lifestyle it promotes, and the values by which it operates.

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