International Women's Day 2018
Everyday we are surrounded by inspiring, motivational and hard working women who are fuelled by their fight for equality within their own communities. Today (and every day) we want to acknowledge their strength and perseverance, as these women have achieved so much through their activism. These are stories that you don’t often hear, because as a woman, the struggles that our artisan partners or family face in Mexico, are very different to what myself and many others face in this day and age.
Last year on International Women’s Day we spoke about our artisan partners from the Jolom Mayaetik Women’s Weaving Cooperative in Mexico. In 1980 when the cooperative was established, women had no knowledge of their rights as indigenous Maya women. Within their indigenous dialects there were no words for Women’s Rights and so the women created these words. They also began to document their rights and spread this knowledge throughout their communities.
Today they are changing the traditional cultural beliefs that left Maya women uneducated. They are paving a path for their daughters to receive an education, to embrace their identity and to preserve their culture through their weaving and language. Their husbands, fathers and partners are very supportive of this change, acknowledging that it is time for equality.
In Guatemala, the Madre Solteras (Single Mothers) de San Juan La Laguna are also creating change. Traditionally within this Tz'utujil community, women were the caretakers who would look after the children and the household. They were encouraged to marry at a young age, so they could be supported by their husbands. Due to unfortunate circumstances, many of these women were left widowed or abandoned by their husbands/partners, leaving them with no income to support their families.
That is why the Single Mothers Group came to be. The women took their fate into their own hands, using their weaving to generate an income while continuing to preserve their cultural traditions and care for their families. This is slowly creating a cultural shift, where members of their community are understanding the importance of education for girls and women. Their daughters are growing up with the confidence to pursue dreams, to one day support themselves without being reliant on a man, but rather to form relationships built on equality and understanding.
As many of you know, we donate 5% of our profits to Mision Mexico Children’s Refuge. This is where Moacir grew up and where he was lucky enough to find his family, founders of the refuge, Pam and Alan Skuse.“This International Women’s Day, we want to share with you the incredible impact that Pam Skuse (Moacir’s mum) has made by sharing this article from the lovelifehope.com website.
“At Mision Mexico we have seen the powerful effect a strong, compassionate, loving mother can have on young girls (and boys). Pam has become a source of inspiration, comfort and advice for all her children and her determination that they should be educated, compassionate and driven can be seen in the choices they make and the self believe they exhibit.
She is an example of how when we invest in young girls, they grow up to be well equipped mothers, who break the cycle of poverty for their children. Pam’s children have come from a wide range of backgrounds, some poor, some abusive, some neglectful. She changed their lives, with the help of our sponsors, by giving them an education and instilling in them determination, self believe, and a desire to follow their dreams”...
You see, the world is full of remarkable women making change. Some have loud voices, some soft, but collectively, together and apart, through their actions and words they are making differences in their own communities. Differences that we will see for the future generations. There is still a long way to go, but they give us hope.
To read more about our artisan partners, head to our Artisan Page.
The Teixchel Weaving Association in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala
The Weaving Women of Santo Tomas Jalieza
(The above stories from indigenous Maya communities, were told to us by the cooperative leaders Micaela and Ingrid).