Bring Literacy to Indigenous Women - Oaxaca Mexico

$3,905 $4,095
Raised Remaining
Mar 6, 2012

Spring 2012 Update from Miramar

children's Mixteco literacy class

Hola to the friends of The Circle of Women!

This comes with greetings from the women of Miramar. I’d like to update you on all the happenings here in Oaxaca. I’ve been to Miramar three times and the women have been here twice, so we have indeed spent a lot of time together assessing where we are and planning for the future—a time of closeness and real sharing.    

We have discussed several possibilities on how to go forward, including turning over the Oaxaca non-profit organization to the women. The decision the women made was not to take on the non-profit at this time since it would mean a great deal of responsibility for legal matters and financial matters which they are not prepared to assume. This was the strong feeling of the older women, less so for those who are younger. We will watch how things develop.

Lynne Rowe, the Marketing and Education Director, and I with the women’s lead have already begun program planning for the rest of the year. We plan two more visits this year and lots of Skype!

So, here are the plans for 2012: As you know, we have three programs (literacy, health, and microenterprise) and the women are proposing another for themselves.

LITERACY—This Saturday, teachers Edith and Augustina are starting to teach two classes for children aged 2 to 10 in Mixtec to Spanish. They will do the reverse as needed.  In addition to language writing and speaking there will be a focus on culture.  This will involve bringing older people into the classroom who are knowledgeable. The kids will interview their elders and write journals in Mixteco.  This sharing of stories is known to be a very important and traditional way of passing on culture. The program is being done at the teachers’ and community request resulting from a pilot project with kids three years ago. THE CLASSES ARE FULL!

Edith is also continuing her adult program which was interrupted by her pregnancy and is conducting the Mixtec to Spanish class with literacy in both languages.

MICROENTERPRISE— The WEAVERS  are back at their looms from their coffee break   (picking, not drinking) and busily producing  their beautiful cotton shawls with the long fringes. The marketing committee, Edith, Marcellina, and Edith Inez spent a weekend at our home getting ready for a sale on that took place on Feb. 25. They sold many weavings, dolls, and even some books!—over $1000 in total. So, they headed back to Miramar with smiles!

They are scheduled for a three day sale at El Museo de textile in October and of course we will bring new inventory of rebozos to Boston. Cotton rebozos are $225, please contact me ( or 617-889-8177) if you would like to purchase one! 

HEALTH— The health project was completed in December but after going over the evaluation by the women we were asked for a family planning program for mothers and early teen-aged daughters who are vulnerable to early pregnancy, a common situation in the village.  

FOLK ART DOLLS—Women who have graduated from our literacy program have been continuing to learn by attending a book club. During the past year of the club, the women decided they wanted to make dolls to sell. It is clear these dolls are very special treasures and the weavers have taken on the responsibility of selling them with their weavings.  

We expect the women will be able to continue the literacy program by training new teachers and grow the weaving program through expanded marketing efforts. One of the health promoters we have trained will continue the health program as she is receiving a good deal of support from the Indigenous Women’s Council in the village.

Every one of you who have helped bring us this far and it is a time for celebration. We’ll keep you posted with plans for a fiesta!


Judith Lockhart-Radtke
children's Mixteco literacy class

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Project Leader

Judith Lockhart Radtke

Staff Member
Chelsea, MA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Bring Literacy to Indigenous Women - Oaxaca Mexico