Socias Firma Tierra de Bordadoras
Happy October! We can’t believe that this month we are already winding down the second year of our cooperative incubation program, the Sierra Madre Network. Your support has played a vital role in our journey, and we're thrilled to share the progress we’ve made in the field over the past several months.
This year, our local women-led field team has led biweekly skills-based training for rural and Indigenous women partners in thirteen remote communities across four municipalities of the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua-Nahua region of Hidalgo, Mexico. To date, our team has facilitated sixteen out of the eighteen workshops that made up this year’s Solidarity Business School training program.
From January to October, our team has covered 85% of our skills-based training program, addressing critical personal and professional development themes including business administration, marketing, financial literacy, digital skills, group decision-making, as well as topics exploring self-esteem and personal autonomy. A total of sixty-eight rural and Indigenous women partners have participated our biweekly workshops, a retention rate that demonstrates the ongoing personal and collective investment in the growth of PSYDEH’s cooperative network.
In fact, this year stands as a pivotal phase for our program in which the Sierra Madre Network cooperatives have begun implementing strategies for both ongoing income generation and the implementation of community impact projects– laying the foundation for sustainable social and economic empowerment for women and girls across the region. Below, we outline the fundamental actions and results from the past six months, while also highlighting the pivotal role of PSYDEH’s Solidarity Business School in promoting solidary economies and sustainable community-led development in rural communities across Hidalgo, Mexico.
From May to October 2023, here are some of the major highlights from PSYDEH’s Sierra Madre Network programming:
Cooperative legal charters: Significant strides have been made in the cooperative formalization process over these last months. Three out of four cooperatives have successfully signed their cooperative constitutions, and each of the four cooperatives have officially registered their business names with the Mexican government. In October, all four of the cooperatives are scheduled to conclude the signing of their legal charters with local government officials, with the final step being the formal legalization before a notary public.
Popup textile events: This year, PSYDEH’s cooperative network has actively engaged in crafting a joint textile collection to be sold at Bordamos Juntos popup events across Mexico City. In addition to this collaborative effort, each cooperative has developed their own unique embroidery collection with an emphasis on market studies and innovation to select colors and designs for clothing, household goods, and gifts most suitable for urban sales. Beyond textiles, cooperative members have begun establishing collective funds in order to reinvest in cooperative projects.
Growing partnerships: Over the last six months, PSYDEH’s team has also been supporting cooperative members with training and mentorship oriented towards new opportunities for sustainable income generation by enhancing the cooperative networks’ commercial and productive capacities. Together with partners, PSYDEH has been actively building connections with various enterprises, organizations, and textile retailers– both nationally and internationally. The cooperative network has also had multiple professional opportunities this year to produce custom wholesale embroidery orders for partners like Expedia Group and Mirada Corta – with even more major opportunities on the horizon.
Through these collaborations, women partners have led collaborative meetings, reviewed professional contracts, and established clear guidelines for successful partnerships. These dynamic commercialization efforts aim to drive local solidarity economies and empower cooperative members with new commercial endeavors.
Community impact projects: Through collective funds and seed funds, cooperatives have begun developing and leading a variety of community impact projects through PSYDEH’s Sierra Solidaria initiative. Social and economic empowerment projects initiated by women partners this year have included, for example, the cultivation and commercialization of local mushrooms, farm eggs, and coffee, the development of rural sustainable tourism routes, and initiatives protecting and promoting Indigenous languages and traditional embroidery.
Testimonies from PSYDEH’s team and women partners:
“I believe that we have generated an environment of trust and collective learning, a place where we are not afraid of making mistakes and I consider that to be the most valuable thing that the cooperative has taught me.” Salma Sinaí Soto Montes, PSYDEH cooperative leader, San Bartolo Tutotepec.
“[Considering the last six months of belonging to the cooperative, I feel…] very good and very different from the way we were before. Before we couldn't talk, it was hard for us, but now more or less, we know how to defend ourselves.” - María L.N., member of the Tierra de Bordadoras Cooperative.
“Being in the cooperative makes me feel more confident in myself and I know that we can achieve what we set out to do.” - Silvia O.L., member of the Yu Danxu Mpefi Di Toi Cooperative.
“My mother, my sister and I are in the cooperative and we are selling the egg at a fair price and it is money for everyone. We share. If my sister can't make a meeting, I go and tell them what we do in the meetings afterward.” - Reina L.P., member of the Yu Danxu Mpefi Di Toi Cooperative.
“I have really learned a lot and I know that each of us can get ahead if we want that change.” - Marilu H.M., member of the Yu Danxu Mpefi Di Toi Cooperative.
“I would like for our cooperative to improve its marketing and have a place to exhibit what we do so that people can get to know us, get to know our communities, and so we can help more local women so that they don't just give away their work.” - Silvia O. L., member of the Yu Danxu Mpefi Di Toi Cooperative.
“I would like to achieve better sales not only in local settings but in other types of stores, outside the communities – different from what we are used to.” Antonia C.T., member of the La Fuerza Otomí Tepehua Cooperative.
“I want to have sales of our own proper brand.” - Cecilia S.J.T., member of the Tierra de Bordadoras Cooperative.
"The achievement that I would like to have is to continue with my embroidery and more than anything to have somewhere to sell them, to know where to go to sell them and how to sell them." María L. N., member of the Tierra de Bordadoras Cooperative.
September was an incredibly eventful month for us here at PSYDEH. On top of Sierra Madre Network workshops, and the cooperative network’s legal incorporation process, PSYDEH was also honored as a nonprofit partner for Expedia Group’s Month of Caring. For the entire month, Expedia Group’s staff in Mexico City hosted fundraising events directly benefiting our work, including a custom order for embroidered polo shirts produced by the Sierra Madre Network cooperatives. On top of fundraising, PSYDEH staff was able to join Expedia Group staff in Mexico City on September 27 to celebrate an annual Day of Caring event complete with a full textile bazaar, a presentation of our work, and women-led workshops on products from the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua-Nahua region as well as a primer in Indigenous languages and embroidery techniques.
Looking forward, our seventh annual regional women’s leadership conference will be held on Thursday, November 16 in Hidalgo. This year’s conference will unite 200+ women to strengthen regional initiatives, inspire action, and affirm the power of women's leadership in rural Mexico. Shared demands will also be elevated into a regional development agenda to present to government officials promoting community-led approaches to a more equitable and inclusive society. Last year’s agenda, along with photos from the event, is available here.
Our entire team and cooperative network wishes to extend a heartfelt invitation to all of our supporters to continue championing PSYDEH’s cooperative network and our programming efforts. Share our work with those you know and love! We're on the verge of achieving our 2023 GlobalGiving funding goal for the Sierra Madre Network and every bit helps empower women to advance their personal and collective goals this year and next. Thank you for your solidarity and for being a part of this ambitious community-led sustainable development journey with PSYDEH.
Socias en Politecnico de Tulancingo
Socias Ya Bombe Kona Mui conversando
Socias en el salon de clase