This month, we’re sharing why Adelante is #WorthStandingFor -- offering a glimpse into the stories and lives of the craftsmen making your shoes. Today, we’re introducing you to Julio Cesar Valle Chiquitó, a second-generation shoemaker who has been been making shoes for more than 25 years, and who currently lives in Pastores, Guatemala with his wife and two children.
Though he began shoemaking at the age of 10, Julio’s start with Adelante marked a departure from solitary work at home to a workshop with a group of artisans. When working from home, Julio says his schedule lacked structure. Working at the workshop, however, has given him a routine -- he appreciates the regularity of waking up each day to go somewhere new. Working in a group has also helped him improve his communication skills as part of a team, not to mention the skills he’s garnered as he masters the machinery at the workshop.
Julio explains that this job has given him significantly more economic stability. Given the prevalence of shoemaking in Pastores, there’s intense competition amongst shoemakers and it’s often difficult to find a steady line of work. Since beginning with Adelante, however, Julio has gained a genuine “peace of mind” with the knowledge that he has a consistent job and reliable monthly income, which allows him to both focus on his craft and plan for his family’s future.
When asked, “Why is Adelante worth standing for?” Julio smiles, before responding that working at Adelante has changed every aspect of his life -- “One hundred percent for the better,” he adds with a chuckle.
- Ali Campbell
Adelante Storyteller in Residence