Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles

by Proyecto Impacto Consultores, AC
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Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Empowering Mayan women through ancient textiles
Cooperative Yaxinal Antsetik from Tsajalch'en
Cooperative Yaxinal Antsetik from Tsajalch'en

To interlace:

To join or tie one thing to another by crossing them with each other to form a homogeneous whole.

 

There are several factors that encourage cooperation, which NGOimpacto applies intuitively and intentionally. We continually change our ways of interacting, practice exchanges in all directions, and share management strategies, organizational programming, fundraising, and communication skills that are useful in the game of collaborative community-based development.

Our physical and emotional body is intertwined with the territory we inhabit and with the practices we inherit. As women, we are a complex unit of searches and feelings that sometimes, due to the needs of livelihood, are driven by an accelerated productive rhythm that ignores the body-soul nexus.

From the urgency of connecting the Technical Productive and the Human Development area, at the end of 2022 the area of Intertwined Textile Impact was born, whose methodology is based on the life cycles that all beings have, but that we see particularly present in indigenous communities, these are: seeding, germination, growth and harvest. Thus, with this organic understanding, we devise facilitations in each phase, with the purpose of strengthening women artisans in a deeper and more transcendent way.

We focus on reinforcing the autonomy of their voice through breathing exercises and the exploration of their inner wind with the use of ancient musical instruments and storytelling. Likewise, we exalt their ancestral wisdom both from its historical-cultural, intuitive and feminine dimension, as well as from their being as entrepreneurs in training, using drawing, design, conceptualization and elaboration of textile jewelry pieces from their traditional techniques, with a contemporary approach.

Textile Jewelry
Textile Jewelry
Experimentation
Experimentation
New workshops
New workshops
New combinations
New combinations
Giving the workshops
Giving the workshops

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We occupied the space set up for women in Santiago El Pinar where a Tsotsil sub-region made up of 4 groups met, 2 groups from Aldama Cabecera, 1 group from Bashantic Larrainzar and the group from the community of Choyo, Santiago El Pinar, to facilitate 2 topics in different areas which are Technical/Productive and Human Development.

The technical/productive area provided the finishing facilitation to Madalena’s group from Aldama Cabecera, which is a follow-up to the Basic Principles and Technical Data Sheet workshops. The women were told about the importance of having a certain type of finishing depending on the pieces they make. These are some of the finishes they can use when making their product: basting, straight stitch, backstitch, chain stitch, scapular stitch, scalloped, overcasting, invisible stitch, and hemming. The women were taught the importance of making certain types of finishes depending on the pieces they make and were taught different types such as: basting, straight stitch, backstitch, chain stitch, scapular stitch, scalloped, overcasting, invisible stitch, hemstitch. These are some of the finishes they can use when making a product.

In another room of the house, a facilitation on Human Development, Self-Esteem for Entrepreneurs, was given to the artisans, explaining the importance of having good self-esteem for effective entrepreneurship. The three groups of social entrepreneurship met with the objective of reinforcing the security they should have as entrepreneurs, explaining that there are always obstacles in the way and for that reason they should be more confident in what they do, to know the importance of the work they do and not be dominated by insecurity and fear, that as women they can achieve the objective proposed as a group. In this facilitation they were shown a video showing a work experience and that they are now independent entrepreneurs, paying their own expenses and managing their own needs as a society. 

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We are about to begin the third month of 2017 and at Impacto time is flying. Since our last report in November, we have been able to see clear progress in the project objectives.

The results achieved during an intense year of work make us very pride and is giving us the motivation and enthusiasm to continue. We would like to thank all your contribution. We hope that you feel part of the team working day by day with the women artisans.

At the end of 2016, the group of Huixtán Cabecera, worked on a large-scale order to produce textiles with pedal looms: more than 125 meters were made and were delivered in a timely manner, not only generating income relevant to the group, but also helping overcome the challenges related to production, planning, infrastructure and organization between the personnel involved and the different project’s requirements.

The women who worked on this assignment achieved great outcomes. They now have more confidence than ever to take greater challenges and it reinforced their empowerment, as they overcame a level of production they had not reached before.

With the help of Impacto these projects generated a significant economic income, which helps to give continuity to all the productive work and capacity building plans.

Collaboration, solidarity and participatory workshops between Impacto staff and our artisans brought the creation of an art project, a project for women's clothing and a collaboration for baby clothes into reality.

Eighteen field visits were carried out in order to follow up the program; which foster collaboration, understanding, and strengthen personal relationships between the staff and the women artisans involved.

Since January we have the collaboration of Liv and César, who do volunteer work with Impacto. They support us with the photographic documentation of the various projects; As well as in developing a storytelling approach of the worked done with artisans. The main principle of this storytelling is to show to the donors the impact that their contribution generates in the lives of the people that they support.

At Impacto we are convinced that a better society is established through a shared effort. For this reason, it is fundamental for us to build healthy and deep relationships among all those involved in our programs. Gracias!

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Desing new forms
Desing new forms

2016 is very close to finishing; it is a great time to do a recount of our year, of what we had achieved or, in some instances, failed. It has definitely been a year of learnings, and although the writing of our report may look easy, it has actually been months of work, commitment and delivery. In this last report we want to include achievements and failures, which led us to strengthen our experience and improve the work we do.

One of our greatest achievements was to implement design-training workshops, six workshops, on the following topics: color, new product development, sales scenarios, costing, product presentation, quality and finishings. In some municipalities we are still in the process of finalizing or stating these workshops, given distance and work overload. Bearing in mind that none of the artisan women had received prior training before working with Impacto Textile.

In the last quarter, we were able to pilot workshops in regards to development of new products with the Huixtán group and the Santiago el Pinar group, which allowed us to make adjustments and improvements in the workshop´s dynamics, thematic, descriptive and didactic material. This facilitates and enriches the process of replication that will be carry out in 2017 with the rest of the groups / municipalities.

In addition, three technical training workshops were held in ancient embroidery, one in regards to learning to sew with automatic machines and one on three-dimensional embroidered jewelry with designer Maria Justina Ricardez; and two workshops of color, creativity and textile experimentation for the creation of a House collection and accessories for women, with designer Carmen Rión.

Furthermore, we have increased the number of 66 to 94 Mayan women artisans, who improve their product day by day, living in several municipalities. Traveling time in average is more than one hour one way, thus in the week they accumulate 12 hours in trips or more.

Thanks to our efforts, 10 social enterprises relied on these artisan groups and artisans in them, achieving a successful commercial outreach, in addition to generating direct income for them of $12,000 USD.

Another achievement is that artisans groups have begun to identify their skills and strengths and have grown significantly in terms of internal cohesion, having the will to work as a team and grow taking larger orders, using new materials, learning new techniques; women are also highly motivated to do textile experimentation (with a special mention in the case of the artisans of Huixtán, Chiapas). Overall, the artisans achieved a greater organization among them with division of labor; they are opening their own creativity and acquiring new tools, which allow them to develop a better product and better sales. This new (non-formal) organizations will help us to implement more specialized workshops the following year.

Next year is optimistic, as we know there is a lot of willingness, confidence and capacity building from the groups of Impacto Textile, which will allow us to continue / to grow our efforts and activities.

We will be looking forward to create exchanges of experiences with various groups of artisans, so they can get to know each other and exchange knowledge and best practices. Now we have more clarity in the operation processes and replication, for which we will include new groups in the Program and implement workshops in the rest of the Municipalities.

At Impacto we contribute to the reduction of the inequality gap in Mexico, and it is with this mission in mind and because of our commitment to do so, that we work hard and motivated every day. Indeed, it is not an easy path, nor a short one; surely we will have roadblocks in our way, we will also have failures; still we are convinced that these are opportunities to learn and to continue to implement a better Textile Program, while optimizing impact in the long term.

We want to thank all contributions through Global Giving which we received this year, every donation is important to or NGO and makes it possible to improve the lives of many Mayan women in southeastern Chiapas and in Mexico. As our slogan communicates : FROM ONE END, TO A BETTERMENT. Gracias! Kolobal!

Workshop of products development
Workshop of products development
Design a new products in collaboration with lacomp
Design a new products in collaboration with lacomp
artisan group Huixtan
artisan group Huixtan
workshop design of new products
workshop design of new products
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women embroidering
women embroidering

Juana Victoria Hernández was born in San Juan Cancuc, Chiapas; she is 27 years old, married and has a 1 year-old child. After graduating from high school she started working as a coordinator in Cancuc´s DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia or Families Integral Development agency), where she was the assistant to the First Lady at the Municipal level.

While she was working at DIF, she was planning on having a handicrafts shop to sell her products, just as her mother had done before.

When her contract in the municipality ended, Juana started manufacturing her first textiles for the shop, but it was not easy because in her community´s market items were sold at a low price and selling in other markets was hard due to the low investments she had available. That is when she heard about Impacto Textil.

Juana says that before Impacto Textil: "We did not know how to measure, or manufacture different sizes. We knew what our mothers taught us in regards to the traditional huipil, men suits, and children clothes. When we started with the workshops we learned how to measure, worked with various sizes, and created new forms and designs.

At the beginning we were 15 women from the community, today we are many groups, in total 85 artisans. The first thing we learned was to measure, which allowed us to manufacture with more quality; with Impacto we understood the importance of manufacturing high quality clothes. We had also learned to use marks, and now I am learning to design with patterns for blouses and skirts. We are also learning a lot regarding colors. Honestly I believe that our product line is improving and definitely we already started a journey for great quality and design.

After improving our product line, we have been able to achieve direct sales, some through Impacto Textil. This gives us the opportunity to help our families and communities. We can also say that the artisans group is more empowered and collaborative, women now participate more in the community shop.

We have been making improvements in our crafts workshop; we did not have chairs or tables and now the group can suggest changes/improvements to the store." 

When we asked Juana about her plans for the future, she said: “my plan for the future is to have a store with our own brand, so that we can support our homes even more. I want to keep teaching the textile craft (art) to future generations.

Juana is only one of the 85 women with whom Impacto through its Textile Program collaborates in a daily basis. Juana is the leader in her group; she does not only designs, weaves and brocades, she also sells and her enthusiasm has helped other women in their self-esteem, leadership and informal enterprises as to improve their livelihoods.

Since our last report, we now have started to work with three new groups in workshops related to product design and color. Besides that, we have given four workshops in two different communities: Santiago del Pinar and Huixtán.

Through 4 modules the artisans learn: financing systems, product presentation and packaging, product design and the use of color. 

Also we have implemented the sewing workshop which helps to strengthen the capacities of women as well as improving of the product.

Little by little we are moving forward, all these steps are achieved with the help of all those who collaborate with us: designers, the team at Impacto Textil, and the artisan women, among many others. We thank you for being part of this challenge, to reduce economic and social inequalities in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.

sewing workshop
sewing workshop
infographic last trimester
infographic last trimester
Working in next product
Working in next product
Sewing workshop
Sewing workshop
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Organization Information

Proyecto Impacto Consultores, AC

Location: San Cristobal de Las Casas - Mexico
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @impacto_adriana
Project Leader:
Adriana Aguerrebere
San Cristobal de Las Casas , Mexico

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