Empowering women in Oaxaca: Fundación En Vía
Video by: Bill Johnson Stories
The video features Carlos Hernández, the founder and current CEO of Fundación En Vía, and Viviana Ruiz, the director of the foundation. The video explores the foundation’s mission and its impact on empowering women in Oaxaca, Mexico. Carlos Hernández explains that after the social crisis in Oaxaca in 2006, many people were left without tourism-related income.
He came up with the idea of bringing tourists interested in supporting local communities to Oaxaca and redirecting the tour funds to artisans and people in surrounding areas. In 2008, through a pilot project, Carlos discovered the concept of combining responsible tourism with microfinancing, using tourism funds to provide microcredits to communities near Oaxaca.
The foundation currently supports approximately 200 women. Viviana Ruiz, the director, highlights the importance of women owning their own businesses, as it gives them the freedom to grow and achieve their dreams independently. Fundación En Vía provides courses and microfinancing to enable women who were previously employed as laborers for others to purchase their own materials and produce their own products, thus becoming independent and taking control of their futures and investments.
The video showcases different beneficiaries of the program who have become entrepreneurs in various fields. These women demonstrate resilience and mutual support within their solidary groups, fostering trust and ensuring the success of their endeavors. The foundation operates based on the Grameen Bank model, inspired by the Indian project of Mohammed Yunus, providing interest-free credit to women in communities with limited access to established financial services.
Despite facing challenges during the pandemic, Fundación En Vía survived with the help of existing funds and a successful fundraising campaign organized by dedicated supporters. The experience taught the organization and the women in the communities the importance of flexibility and resilience in adapting to new circumstances.
Through the programs of Fundación En Vía, women gain financial independence, personal and professional development, and the confidence to pursue their dreams. The foundation’s work has had a significant impact on the lives of these women, as they become agents of change and transform their communities.
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