This project empowers indigenous female artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico by providing business skills training to help them build their own traditional handicraft microenterprises. We have faced many economic crises and territorial dispossession of land, and currently live in the region with the highest percentage of unemployment in the state. With your support, we can improve the quality of life for 80 Zapotec families, reduce economic violence, and boost local economic development
Our region is going through multiple crises: it has been subject to land dispossession for decades, and the 2017 earthquake disaster and COVID-19 economic recession have only exacerbated these issues. In addition, 85% of Mexican indigenous women only have access to informal, poorly paid jobs. These economic crises have resulted in social and psychological breakdowns, and today the Istmo de Tehuantepec is the most dangerous region for women in the state.
Since 2017, we have provided support to indigenous artisan cooperatives in creating fair work conditions, leading to a gradual social bonding reconstruction. At UMPO, we train women in traditional trades, which generates economic independence, local entrepreneurship growth, and empowers a solidarity-based economy. These trained women then teach other women what they have learned. Our goal is to have more women with healthy finances and more cooperatives with decent work
We have trained 31 artisan cooperatives and taught traditional trades to over 200 women. Rescuing cultural and regional knowledge helps create sustainable livelihoods and can reduce violence and insecurity for women in the region by improving the economy, creating more labor networks, and organizing safe spaces. However, the conflict in Ukraine has reduced support for building a larger network of artisan entrepreneurship, so we still need to empower artisan women.