Nearly Three Years Now…

The Santa Elena Community Development Project began in May, 2008. The initial idea was to promote self employment in a region where traditional job sites are almost non-existent.

At first the participants were unsure and had little comprehension of how they could have their own business. Their experience had been to work for someone else who would explain exactly what they were supposed to do, would pay them and then that was it… Their work was never secure; they depended 100% on the fortunes of others or upon the government.

But with energy and enthusiasm they began to look at different models. Eventually a two-pronged approach was decided upon. One group created a day excursion through their community that they call, “Walk the Mayan Way.” Visitors to Yucatan will love this delightful tour of a contemporary Mayan village. For further information, you can contact me and I’ll pass a  message along.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The other group used their creative skills and developed a line of products to sell. They wanted items that would be attractive to both local residents and tourists. After several attempts, the colorful vinyl shopping bags were clearly the winners.

Many of these have been purchased and later they’ve been spotted on a street in New York as well as in the Santiago market and many places between…

The sale of these bags has made a tremendous difference to the lives of the project members. One of them said recently. “Thanks to the income from the sales, our children have gone to school with all they need – books, uniforms and so on. We are so happy to have this work!”

What started out as a project to develop income sources turned into one that has developed self esteem and pride.

Please support the Santa Elena Sustainable Development Project. The bags will be for sale at the AANY artisan fair to be held this weekend from 10 am – 8 pm. at the Camara de Comercio on Avenida Itzaes and 31st Street.

All orders large or small will be gratefully filled.                                                              

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