Meet Team Mexico! In the spring of 2017, our fellow social justice social entrepreneur, Joy, moved to Mexico to work with artisans, seeking to create jobs for women in rural areas without access to economic opportunity. She and her group built partnerships with women's cooperatives outside of Taxco, the silver capital of the world.
Our artisan partners in Taxco are masters of metallic jewelry, working in sterling silver, gold, brass, and alpaca silver. The city of Taxco exports tons of silver jewelry to the U.S., but it's almost entirely made by men. But Joy's artisan cooperative works with women in the villages outside of Taxco. There are currently 12 women that are a part of this group, primarily single mothers. Some were taught the craft while growing up by their fathers, others were taught by other women in the group. Regardless, the tradition of silversmithing in these small villages goes back generations, and it is the livelihood of most people in the area. Most artisans never learned to read or write, so their options for upward mobilization are limited. Working with this cooperative, the women are able to export their products at fair prices, as well as work from their own homes where they can care for their children. It's difficult work, but these women do it with so much pride!
Artisan Spotlight: Berta
Berta (pictured second from right) lives in Taxco el Viejo, a village outside of Taxco, Mexico. She lives in a two-room cement home with her husband and 3 children. Years ago, her husband made the journey to the US looking for work, hoping to build a better life for his family. Coming to the US illegally, however, is a very, very dangerous journey, and he was badly injured in the process (before making it to the border). Because of this injury, he's now completely paralyzed, unable to work, though he guards the community bathrooms during the days. Berta was hit with a hard reality, that she alone would need to provide for her whole family, and without an education. She learned silversmithing from the artisan cooperative, and now has been working with them for 10 years. "Not many women do the work that we do. We support each other so we can all have a better life." - Berta