Bring Literacy to Indigenous Women - Oaxaca Mexico

by The Circle of Women
Eleuteria - Photo Tom Feher
Eleuteria - Photo Tom Feher

Hola to all donors and supporters!

This comes with gratitude for all you do to support the work of The Circle of Women. 

The Mixteca Weavers are now reorganizing under a Mixtec name, Ita sa’a na’a—a flower made by a woman. Dominga, Petra, Agripina, and Eleuteria (pictured)—abuelitas, the wise elder women—will have the last say on any conflict or changes. This is in keeping with the culture and in recognition of their role as founders and expert weavers. At one of their recent meetings, Petra spoke up with confidence saying they need another meeting to solve a couple of issues—”this is my recommendation.” You can be sure that is a new phrase in Mixtec!

The reorganization and work on communication is one of the accomplishments for this year as the women grow toward autonomy from The Circle. They are also producing ever more complicated and fine weavings with long fringes. The change in fringes is occurring as the result of a workshop in the Sierra Norte with a group of Zapotec women.

A new program has started with five women in the village of Union and Suspiro. They are younger but illiterate and very isolated. They are also bringing their Mixtec only speaking children before they enter school. Augustina is teaching this group which means a considerable amount of work to also adapt the program to the children. The goal is to have the women fully bilingual in two years as the first group was.

In Miramar, a new group of young women, literate in Spanish, is learning to read and write in Mixtec. The members of the book club are reading challenging novels and poetry. They also are planning to make dolls for sale with stories to go with them inspired by the many requests for the dolls at the Museum of Textiles show.

Our health program has focused on many important matters—nutrition, dental health,  processed foods, growing organic vegetables, development of self-esteem, meditation and massage skills. Every woman in the village who wished to have her eyes examined was provided with glasses if necessary. 

Now, we ask for funding to continue the work. We have been in the village for nearly 10 years and have developed effective and sustainable programs. They also are transferable to other venues. It has been an amazing adventure for all of us and you have made it happen. Let us continue together to empower these women and their children.

Thank you.

Judith Lockhart-Radtke and
the Women of Miramar, Oaxaca
The Circle of Women

Dominga- Photo: Tom Feher
Dominga- Photo: Tom Feher
Petra- Photo: Judith Haden
Petra- Photo: Judith Haden
Agripina- Photo: Judith Haden
Agripina- Photo: Judith Haden

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Organization Information

The Circle of Women

Location: Chelsea, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
The Circle of Women
Project Leader:
Judith Lockhart Radtke
Staff Member
Chelsea, MA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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