Atzin helps to alleviate poverty by supporting people to reach their full potential, thereby developing a “cycle of prosperity.” It is a complex task but one with lasting effects. Atzin invests time, talent and resources so that women in particular gain greater capacities in order to achieve their goals. This includes working closely with women in a sewing and quilting workshop, offering literacy classes, and raising expectations for excellence in weaving.
The Nahua villagers earn a meager living by weaving palm baskets and selling them to tourists throughout Mexico. Laboratory studies revealed toxic metals in their water, soil, palm dyes and clay cooking pots. These toxins produce a silent crisis of slow poisoning. Many children are undernourished, suffering from low levels of chronic toxicity, and often do poorly in school. The majority of adult women are illiterate. Macho male attitudes, alcoholism and domestic violence seriously affect daily life.
Reversing poverty requires the deliberate construction of a cycle of prosperity. The Income Generation Program does this with activities that build on each other. Tailored to economic needs, this program supports: a sewing and quilting workshop as well as weavers who produce an excellent variety of baskets using only natural palm. Enrollment in the (free) Tihueliske literacy classes for women increases confidence and the likelihood of advances.
Focusing first on the production of a higher quality of woven baskets, Atzin then organized and curated art and palm exhibitions that toured in Mexico and in Canada (2006-08; 2011-12; 2015-17). Profiling the weaving of palm as an art form, these exhibitions put the baskets of Tlamacazapa on the national map, opening up new markets and clients for the village as a whole.
Atzin works with women who are trapped in poverty to develop a new reality for daily life, one of justice and wellbeing. At the heart of development work is the cultivation of a sense of personal empowerment, beginning with a spark of possibility and growing stronger with intention, effort and time. The nurturing of that inner spark is Atzin’s mission, thereby opening up opportunities for a cycle of prosperity for women and their families.