WHO WE HELP
National Network of Social Entrepreneurs and Producers of the Central Valley of Oaxaca (RENACES)
With the decline in tourism and the local economy, Josefina struggles to sell her woven rugs at a fair price. These wool rugs, with intricate traditional Zapotec designs, take many hours to produce. When RENACES, a Oaxacan-based community organization purchased an industrial sewing machine for Josefina's village, she was able to craft bags and purses out of smaller weavings. The result is an innovative new product line that she can market at a fair-wage price.
RENACES, which means "rebirth" in Spanish, is working to breathe new life into some of Oaxaca's most marginalized rural villages by empowering its women residents. Led by a volunteer, Veronica Dominguez Martinez, the group conducted needs assessments of a dozen such villages. Working with the residents, the assessments identified specific tools, equipment or training that can be a foundation for sustainability in the future.
In some of the villages, sewing machines are also needed for the manufacture of clothing that is then adorned with traditional techniques of embroidery. In five other communities, where there are no ovens available, all cooking and baking is still done in primitive stone hearths. RENACES is purchasing commercial ovens for these villages to be used as communal property. With training in bread-making and nutrition, the residents can provide a healthy product and profitable enterprise for their community.
The Union of Community Museums of Oaxaca
Juan Cruz lives in the remote Mixteca village of San Miguel Tequixtepec. The people in the community still weave traditional and decorative objects from palm leaves. Poverty has driven many Tequixtepequeños to migrate to Veracruz and to Mexico City, but some have come back to the simple traditional life.READ MORE >
The Union of Community Museums of Oaxaca (La Unión de Museos Comunitarios de Oaxaca) is part of a network of rural communities working throughout Mexico and Latin America. Its mission is to support each community in preserving its heritage while building strategies for the future. Along with the development of local museums, the group promotes activities for education and training, craft marketing, and rural tourism.
The Oaxacan network includes 17 villages in the Central Valleys, the Mixteca, the Northern Sierra, and the Pacific Coast, working together to support their common efforts. In each village, reflecting the traditional form of indigenous local government, members of the museum committee are elected by the village assembly. The museum becomes a focal point of civic pride and community activity, focused on self-direction and sustainability. Each community draws on local historical and archaeological materials, as well as local traditions in crafts and agriculture, to develop its own story of place.