Laura (23) and María del Carmen (32) belong to the people of Tseltal. Together with other indigenous women they set up the textile cooperative Skinal Nichimetik. They live in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. Every weekend they travel 108 km back to their community in Pueblo Nuevo Sitalá.
The current chairperson in the cooperative is María del Carmen, a woman who until recently could neither read nor write. Laura has been luckier and is currently finishing her seventh semester in rural development studies. If she manages to complete the remaining three semesters, she will become the first woman in her community who graduates from university.
Besides, María del Carmen has been chosen to take part in a programme for young indigenous women in leadership positions. Apart from technical courses in textile design, she will also receive training in organisation, management, administration and political fundamental rights. Currently she is engaged in this full-time programme which, in time, will allow her to train members within the cooperative with new knowledge, but in order to expand the sales opportunities for the cooperative´s products now she will also need to undertake an IT course.
Their families’ living depends on the income of the cooperative, and this is the reason why they cannot pay for their tuition fees themselves. The families and the whole community have very bad job opportunities as they work as seasonal workers in the coffee production.
Their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers never went to school. They were at the mercy of omnipresent machismo and violence. At present, their granddaughters have not only become a role model for other women within the community, but also a sign of hope, because it is them who now pass on the knowledge to other women and the whole community. Better education for María del Carmen and Laura is a big chance for the cooperative, the families that depend on it and the community.
Requirement 1: tuition fees
For the 2014 academic year, Laura will need 45 € a month. María del Carmen, as chairperson within the community, will take part in an IT skills course with fees of 55 € a month.
Requirement 2: educational material and travelling expenses
Laura needs 62 € per month for both material and travel expenses. María del Carmen does not require any educational material, but she needs 45 € for travelling expenses to resume her role as the coordinator of the cooperative where she belongs to, Skinal Nichimetik.
Requirement 3: a laptop
María del Carmen needs a laptop so that she can generate better selling opportunities for the cooperative.
Food and accommodation for María del Carmen is currently being provided by El Tentempie e. V. members' money contributions.
Help to develop further the women’s arising self-confidence.