"If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a village." I often think about this African proverb when making my way through small villages in Mexico. When i'm visiting artists' communities, it's the women who I meet, talk too and collaborate with. It is with them, that I do business. It's the women who network, who weave, who sell. I see them taking direction from their mothers, while their daughters assist them with the project at hand.
The saying rings true, and our friend Mica Miro at Fundación En Via in Oaxaca couldn't agree more, "the more we learned about the best way to help, the more we understood it began with the women in the each family." Mica has been living in Oaxaca for several years, working at Fundación En Via, a non-profit which aims to provide support to local artisans and business owners through education, microfinance and responsible tourism.
With a network of volunteers and a dedicated small staff, En Via makes strong efforts at tackling poverty by providing hands-on support and solutions within communities of artists and small business owners. Through local action and advocating responsible tourism, they host their own tours around Oaxaca. En Via is a perfect resource for visitors wanting to give back to the communities they're learning about. With a purchase of a ticket, visitors get a tour from an insider while contributing to En Via's programs.
En Via also provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs. Women who have a small stand selling tortillas or selling their handmade crafts, can apply to enroll in their program, which provides coaching, workshops, mentoring and assistance in business. En Via learned that providing micro-finance wasn't a stand-alone solution, they understood that education and speaking English was also a key component to enhancing business growth. So, they started a school.
They began providing English classes in rural communities for women who are artists or small business owners. The need was great and enrollment grew with every passing year. After enrolling women in these classes, they noticed something else: their children came as well. These women understood how imperative learning English was and wanted to share it with their family. Without planning it, En Via became a small school for educating youth in communities with great need.
These are our type of people. They roll up their sleeves and do what is needed to tackle poverty and improve quality of life. Lola y Tula is proud to be donating to this small but mighty organization throughout our Fall 2017 season. 10% of all purchases made at www.lolaytula.com will go to the specific area of education at En Via, in hopes that these children along with their parents, will be learning English to strengthen their businesses and improve their lives.
Learn more about how you can help Fundacion En Via here: www.envia.org