10 July 2023

Fuerte is now MARES

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We are glad to share with you that our financial autonomy project has a new name and identity: MARES (Women Saving in Solidarity Networks), which during the first semester of 2023 strengthened over 110 women through 9 solidarity savings groups in the East Zaachila area and the Mixteca region in the state of Oaxaca. 

Margarita is a 27-year-old mother of four who during the afternoon drives a moto-taxi, a motorcycle-powered public transport service commonly used in low-income neighbourhoods. On a good day, she earns $150 pesos (around $8.80USD), but motherhood does not allow her to work all week.

Thanks to her participation in the savings groups of the MARES project, Margarita has been able to sort through difficulties. Recently, her motorbike taxi broke down, but with a loan from her fellow membersof the savings ghroup, she went back to work in no time.

“In Colonia la Gotera, María’s house burned down and her colleagues decided to donate their solidarity savings to support their colleague… the help may not be much but it is nice to see how women learn to support each other through the meetings Araceli, project coordinator.

Margarita and her family live in Colonia Casahuates, on eastern side of the Zaachila municipality. This community that surrounds the largest landfill in Oaxaca, currently closed due to a  sanitary crisis caused by the garbage management.

Community members face constant stigmatization, marginalization and discrimination. Their community lacks essential services such as sewage, paved streets, and water. The lack of high schools beyond junior high creates barriers for young people to continue a path towards technical education, college or other training to ensure a better living.

The creation  of solidarity savings groups is intended to enable women to realize their potential, overcome the limitations imposed by gender roles, and ensure their economic and social participation in and out of their communities.

“It is wonderful to see how in the first savings groups the women were afraid to accept the role of group accountant, now they are more confident in doing their accounts and receiving the money from their partners” Araceli, project coordinator. 

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