Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income

by MANOS QUE RECONSTRUYEN OAXACA A.C.
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Covid-19 Education raises indigenous women income
Collaborative desing workshop
Collaborative desing workshop

30 families have improved their income through our craft cooperatives strengthening program, in which people are trained with business development support. Most of the groups are led by women, they have learned about collaborative design, product photography, circular economy, echo design, and techniques for improving internal communications.  

The artisan entrepreneurs participated in the first "Semillero cooperativista" (cooperatives seedbed), a regional meeting in which they learned and shared their experiences. Most of the workshops in which they can participate focus on cooperative principles and a solidarity economy. 

To date, we have organized three events called “Solidary market”, in which the entrepreneurs put up for sale their artisanal products in municipal public places. The last one was almost fully organized by themselves, without UMPO’s leadership,  I want to mention this because they are developing self-management aptitudes as a collective of cooperatives. The results have been the income increase, generation of networks, and visibility.

Isabel, is part of the collective “Guidi yuu”, traditional shoemakers, after the last Solidary Market she told us “Since I decided to learn saddlery in UMPO's traditional crafts school, until now, with the strengthening training for cooperatives, my sales have increased, but most importantly, I have generated new networks with other entrepreneur women like who are doing what they do with love and energy. Today I have got many tools and innovative knowledge that have helped me reactivate my economy and be resilient. I have never stopped working hard because I feel supported by UMPO, I believe they put their heart into what they do. I really admire the team and celebrate the existence of such noble and loving people.”

We are very happy about the evolution of each one of the initiatives that have been part of the cooperative strengthening project, we are very proud of them. Thanks a lot for believing that the growth of local traditional crafts entrepreneurs is possible.

See you soon! 

Victoria's huipiles during the Solidary Market
Victoria's huipiles during the Solidary Market
Solidary Market
Solidary Market

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Modesta, chontal woman
Modesta, chontal woman

Hi there! We are very proud to share with you our latest news about “My fruit, my town”, which is our project to respond to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy of indigenous communities in Oaxaca. We achieve this through workshops and learning women groups for transforming fruit and vegetables, to avoid their waste. This time we worked with women of San Pedro Jilotepec, located in the mountains of “La Sierra Chontal”, a beautiful paradise full of oak pines. 

Arturo was our host, he has a traditional community leadership role “There is a lot of waste in my community, we have a lot of yellow pumpkins, our people don't know many ways to cook it so we usually throw away plenty of it!” 

This experience was incredible, 30 women of the community participated, which is the largest group we have ever had with My fruit my town workshops. They are very committed to being “Fruit guardians” of their territory.  

During the workshops, women brought a lot of fruits and vegetables for making preserves and other delicious and healthy options. San Pedro has an abundance of squash, tomato, and yellow pumpkin, it's a place in which people sew their own crops such as onions and carrots, which were a great companion for making successful gastronomical experiments. The atmosphere of coexistence between women was very healing. In UMPO we believe that food is a way of connecting with the territory and ancestors of a community, based on experiences of abundance and solidarity.

 During one session, the group rescued 25 kg of fruit and vegetables, with these techniques and good organization they are capable of saving 140 kg per week. We were very emotional at the end of the workshops. Maximina, 62 years old, told us  “Thanks a lot for sharing this knowledge with us, I had no clue about all the ways we can use pumpkins pulp, we used to take only the seeds for selling them. I think this is the beginning of a big change for San Pedro”. 

We will continue working with San Pedro’s women, it's an opportunity to link our organization to a new environment. The richness of their territory is the most awe-inspiring experience for transforming food.  We are convinced that COVID-19 has strengthened the way of organization of many communities. Surrendering to a broken economical situation is not an option for chontal people, but getting new tools for taking care of their fields, regenerating their land, and consuming the food that sprouts from it, is a way to be resilient. 

Thanks a lot for being part of this new achievement, and thank you for promoting the well-being of chontal women. 

Working with yellow pumpkin
Working with yellow pumpkin
San Pedro community
San Pedro community
Workshop between oak pines
Workshop between oak pines
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Guitar workshop children
Guitar workshop children

Dear UMPO community, 

What pull us together as a community? This is a constant question that emerges in UMPO’s team talks. We are continuously looking for the promotion of moments, projects and experiences together that remind us what we love about our community and zapotec culture.  

Since 2020 with the lockdown for COVID-19 it has been difficult to create events in which our community and program beneficiaries can share presencial workshops or festivals. We are convinced that the best way to impact on strengthening the zapotec identity to promote autonomy are spaces in which we can share what we are, we believe and what we can create with our hands. 

Last semester we organized the first Art and Heritage festival. Women from our territory are merchants of expertise therefore to fulfill their crafts and products they prefer to make them in the (mercados) local markets. When you visit Istmo de Tehuantepec, you can embrace the magic of this place, precisely in our markets. The festival we presented was the first event in our village in which arts and commerce was the main theme. In this festival the students and work cooperatives of our Traditional trades school, sold their handmade creations of the last year. The children of the traditional guitar delighted us with a musical presentation, poets of the region shared some of their work and other local musicians joined us. We placed a photography exhibition of all the guardians of traditional trades of the Art and Heritage route, a collection named “Discover the hands of Ixtaltepec”

Everything went magnificent. All the sanitary measures were respected, and people were so grateful for being joined after such a hard year. The festival took place in Ixtaltepec's central park, and we had the assistance of 300 people along the festival. It was a festival full of trades, colors, art and commerce that reactivated the local economy and revalued our culture. All the entrepreneurs who participated made good profits and are waiting for the second festival of the year. 

We are very happy with these results, it seems that it will be a new tradition in our town, trying to organize ourselves and look for well-being.

Thank you for believing that small actions can change our people's lives. It gives us calm to know that even COVID-19 is still a big concern, there are people out there that support our actions.  

 

Thank you!!

Toquillo handmade bag
Toquillo handmade bag
leather saddlery entrepreneur
leather saddlery entrepreneur
Photo exhibition of traditional trades
Photo exhibition of traditional trades
Weaving and dyeing workshop
Weaving and dyeing workshop
Dalila traditional cheese guardian
Dalila traditional cheese guardian
UMPO team
UMPO team

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Rudiel, traditional embroidery guardian
Rudiel, traditional embroidery guardian

Pandemic lockdown didn’t stop zapotec children to be part of our educational model, we recognize that all social intervention with gender perspective must  include children  in spaces of caring for achieve the strengthening of women education during any crisis. 

In our community  72% of the people is indigenous, 80% live in human deprivation and poverty. We found out that if children don’t understand the importance of preserving our culture, the opportunities of their territory and embrace the solution within their possibilities and interests the future generations will suffer a wider disparity between social, political and economical dimensions.  

One of our favorite interventions is the “Ruta Sabor y Arte” (Art and Flavor Route) , which children visit traditional craft workshops with guidance of important artisans of our region. The Route is full of colorful wall communitary murals made by artists of different origins. After 6 months of lockdown because of COVID.19, authorities allowed us to restart the children route but with small groups and all the measures.

During the mural route tours Paloma, a 9 years old girl was very surprised about this experience “I am happy because I haven't seen before any king of art in my town, nobody use to paint, and I didn’t know they were so many beautiful paints near me, I want to visit them all.”

 Children have to interview the guardians, and work on a compilation of videos in order we can document the incidence of guardians in the new generations. Every child that participates in the route gets a book of “Deshilar el Istmo” (Unravel the Istmo) with which children can learn more about the traditional crafts and the Art and Flavor Route. Last period the route had the participation of 106 children, who received a pedagogical book to introduce themselves to traditional crafts.  

After one of the routes Kevin, 11 year old, told us “When I heard we were going to meet a potter man, I thought doing potter must be very difficult, but when I tried I liked it so much, now I want to learn and be a pottery guardian.”

We consider that even though we have been working through two crises that have affected our community socially and economically (2017 earthquake, 2020 COVID-19 pandemic), we have achieved a horizontal way to create solutions that impact three generations of the community. We dream that all the children have the opportunity to visit the Art and Flavor Route, so they embrace our culture and fight to preserve our territory no matter what crisis they face next. 

Traditional paper craft Jz and Aida's mural
Traditional paper craft Jz and Aida's mural
Traditional Bread mural by Mataka
Traditional Bread mural by Mataka
Paloma with her book Deshilar el Istmo
Paloma with her book Deshilar el Istmo
Route interventions for children
Route interventions for children
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Aida and the neighbours
Aida and the neighbours

In this picture my partner Aida is with our neighbours, she usually reads to them some short stories in the afternoon. She  has been a key bond for maintaining UMPO’s activities alive during these days, all the art, communication and every single photo of our media is all her creation. She told me:

“During the lockdown, UMPO has been like a time machine, that transforms negative ideas into positive solutions for facing adversities. We are all surrounded with news about loss and how hard life can be nowadays. But yet I percibe UMPO projects like seeds of love and hope for our communities. Since the COVID-19 lockdown started, we continued implementing productive workshops using digital tools. 

We are always creating programs that offer educational tools to become autonomous for creating our own laboral opportunities. We try to boost everyone's capacities for making their dreams come true. But this time  using digital platforms was such a big step! because one of our main objectives as an organization is to connect our community and make new bonds and sometimes technology doesn’t inspire this kind of authentic sensitive contact. What I can share is that I decided to participate  in the traditional herbal medicine workshop [I usually do not participate as a student in the workshops], there, I took the class with 30 different women from different latitudes, this never happened before. I attended the first multicultural UMPO’s workshop!  

On the other side, it's true that the pandemic has affected children too, because Mexico’s educational model is usually precarious and now, trying to pass it remotely is a huge challenge. That’s why I am amazed about our reading circles and with our children activities for learning about traditional crafts. I feel that even with the pandemic, we continue sowing the zapotec identity in the heart of the youngest ones. 

Finally I want to share that most of the people in our communities are elderly persons, many of them were abandoned and their economical situation is deplorable. These days I had the opportunity to share time with many zapotec grandpas because we started the “solidary baskets”. A program in which we buy products of many agriculturists of the zone in order to activate their economy, such as corn, coffee, cheese, totopo (corn tortilla), etc. We put together all these local products in a basket and  give them to the elders of our communities. We don’t know how long this will last, but what we know is that we have solutions to activate our communities, their economy, strengthen their bonds and also cover their basic needs.” 

Thank you for supporting us during this COVID-19 challenge, we start a new year and we hope you will be part of the next opportunities for boosting the zapotec communities economy.

Food baskets for grandpas
Food baskets for grandpas
Learning about pottery
Learning about pottery
Children going through the traditional craft route
Children going through the traditional craft route
Fruit- making cooperatives
Fruit- making cooperatives
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Organization Information

MANOS QUE RECONSTRUYEN OAXACA A.C.

Location: Asunción Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca - Mexico
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Project Leader:
Alejandra Rosado
Asuncion Ixtaltepec, Oaxaca Mexico
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