photos: Katrina Jane Perry
Isabel Santiago García and her daughter Juana García Santiago live in the community of San Miguel del Valle nestled in the foothills of the Sierras. They are a family of generational weavers and tamale makers. Both of their businesses are operated with the support of Fundación En Vía thorough microloans, responsible tourism, and education.
I learned of Fundación En Vía three years ago on my first visit to Oaxaca. At the time I was taking a Spanish course at Instituto Cultural Oaxaca where the En Vía offices are located. Upon learning of their work in the surrounding communities, and having the opportunity to see firsthand what they were doing to support women, I signed up for their next tour without hesitation. On this particular day (each tour visits different communities), we visited five women-owned businesses ranging from weavers to chicken farmers in the communities of Día Ordaz and Teotitlan del Valle. I was beyond inspired by what I witnessed and the women I met–the skilled artistry and their dedication to running successful businesses. Knowing my tour fee was going back into the microfinance loan program in order to help build and grow the businesses we visited was an added bonus.
I am honored to work with three of the artisans I met on my very first En Vía tour on collaborations for AUGUST ETTA today. My support for this organization continues through these cherished relationships, and through WOVEN: the AUGUST ETTA commitment to weaving a social tapestry across borders by giving 5% of all AUGUST ETTA sales back En Vía, a non-profit organization located in Oaxaca, Mexico committed to supporting social and community development through microfinance, responsible tourism, and education.
It is also a great honor to volunteer my time when I am in Oaxaca to visually documenting the work En Via is doing to positively impact lives and build healthy communities. Sharing the success stories of hard-working, ambitious women is one of my greatest joys. I encourage anyone traveling to Oaxaca City to take an En Vía tour and learn more about how you can support this incredible effort to empower women in the Oaxaca Valley. Learn more about En Vía here.