For nearly three years the women of the Santa Elena Sustainable Development Project have been working towards their goal of self-determination. These twelve women are not educated and in fact, until last year, they’d never been to Merida, the state capital just 100 kilometers away from their town. They had never developed a product, followed a design, nor heard of the concept of quality control. The ladies had never coordinated fabrics and colors, run an industrial sewing machine… they’d never earned any money.
They have now accomplished all this and today they took still another step. From now on, the group will handle their finances and do their own buying. They have a simple accounting and inventory model they’ll follow and although somewhat nervous about having the complete responsibility for their project, they are excited and proud of themselves.
The ladies developed several projects over the past three years and each has taught them a lesson. They hope to have other offerings soon. Meanwhile their colorful market bags are a big hit with Merida shoppers. They will be on sale at the AANY Handcrafts sale to be held this weekend at the Chamber of Commerce. Rosa said, “When we took our bags to the sale at Christmastime, I was very nervous of what the other vendors would think. But they were all welcoming and I look forward to seeing them again.”
For those readers not familiar with the AANY show… here’s your chance to attend a great event. Joan Farrel, a member of Merida’s international community and the volunteers from her group have interviewed a large number of local artists and gathered them together to sell their wares. This weekend will mark the fifth event and will feature more than 50 artists; the Santa Elena ladies among them with 66 bags for sale. The bags make great gifts for friends’ birthdays. The hours are from 9am – 7 pm. The Chamber of Commerce building is located on the corner of Avenida Izaes and Calle31.