Helping the village women of Oaxaca
In our many years of travel we have been on countless tours. From trekking in the world’s oldest rainforest to eco tours of Bali. During our stay in Oaxaca we went on a tour that literally changes people’s lives. It is run by a group called Envia, a non-profit organization committed to supporting social and community development.
The tour takes you to the small villages surrounding Oaxaca where you meet 5 women and learn about their business. The beauty of the tour is that the fee you pay is given to these business-women as an interest-free microloan that allows them to create or expand small businesses.
Meet Ariadna. Through the micro loans from EnVia she has managed to open up a small grocery store in her village. As soon as we walked into her store her infectious smile and ultra happy aura confirmed to us that EnVia has been a good thing for her. Even though she works long hours she said she would not change a thing. Her ultimate aim is to put her daughter into school and college.
This is Jleniha. She runs a small chicken coop just up from Ariadna. By being part of EnVia she has managed to triple the amount of chickens she has, enabling her to sell to the village day in day out. Before she received her loan she would always run out of chickens through lack of funds.
As you can see the tour is not in an ugly part of the world! One of the main issues in Mexico is the lack of fair credit. Interest rates on loans in Mexico are some of the highest in the world, averaging at 70% and reaching a dizzying 150%! These numbers make it impossible for working class people to improve their businesses and lives. The tour fees that EnVia generate provide interest free loans that offer these women hope for the future.
Meet Mirege. With the help from her family she creates the most amazing hand-woven Mexican rugs. They were so beautiful that we were literally fighting over which ones we wanted to buy! Making these rugs is very labour intensive. Most of the weavers sell their products to big local factories who then sell them worldwide or to passing tourists for a massive mark-up. EnVia has helped Mirege by giving her more money to buy better equipment and by giving her the option to sell at markets that tourists frequent.
Why only women?
Research shows that women are much more responsible when it comes to finances (take note the world’s bankers!). By only loaning to women EnVia are not only guaranteeing the women’s future but the families too. In all the time EnVia has been running 99.9% have paid back the loan in full.
We highly recommend (no we command) you to a book a tour with EnVia. You can do by clicking Book Tour.
It was a privilege meeting the wonderful families on our tour. To go on a tour that truly makes a difference to people’s lives is exactly the type of travel we think we should all do and we hope that if you visit Oaxaca this post encourages you to do the same.
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