One project IDEX supports through our partner Ñepi Behña is a fair trade artisan’s cooperative in Hidalgo, Mexico. One of their main activities is production and sales of agave-fiber body sponges to the Body Shop. Agave fiber is a local, renewable resource to which the women readily have access and provides real economic opportunities in an area with few other options.
Anastasia is one such member of the cooperative. When she joined, she was unsure what was in store, but as she participated in trainings on women’s rights and developed the skills to become an artisan, she says her life gradually changed. She discovered a knack for numbers and found herself leading cooperative meetings.
Anastasia was soon elected cashier for a savings and microfinance program called Abejitas (“Little Bees”) that the cooperative started.
Started in 2002, the savings program has expanded to six rural communities and boasts 400 women members. Since there are no formal banks in the area, the women opened up the savings program so anyone in the community could start saving or access a loan.
“I’ve learned how to write down and organize the savings, to track people’s savings, to manage accounts, and to budget,” says Anastasia.
Like the other woman in the group, Anastasia makes regular contributions to the fund. As the savings grow, women can withdraw money from the account for expenses, like tools to boost their income, school fees for their children, and medicine to treat family illnesses.
Through Ñepi Behña, the women have gained new skills – marketing, computer, financial planning – so the cooperative can take itself to the next level. And the cooperative now makes a range of beauty products and natural soaps, all made from native, traditional plants.
By donating to Ñepi Behña you are ensuring more women can benefit from this program.
Thank you for your support.