By Moonyeen King
Tepehua Centro Comunitario, Chapala is trying to keep the privacy of cultures, religions, dignity of Indigenous peoples intact. We are not there to change beliefs or dictate—but to bring about change through education. Using world knowledge to blend and form a stronger middle class. All societies gain from group support. Keeping women out of the work place because of continuing pregnancies is the worst thing for any society. They are needed to balance scales in decision making.
In 2011, Fox News Latino stated,” Mexico is the largest market for erectile dysfunction aids in the developing world, with about 200 million dollars in sales every year since 1998. Mexico was chosen to try ‘Viagra Jet’ tablets that can be taken without water at the moment needed.” Instant erection. Contraceptive use and Viagra are more common in urban areas of Mexico, ignoring the Church, among educated women/men, than in rural sectors, where education is lacking and availability of contraceptives and Viagra in various forms, unavailable.
The Tepehua Centro Communitario is slowly introducing small industry to women, teaching them how to package and sell, introducing education concerning maternal health and benefits of family planning. They have also started a savings system, whereby the women can save a few pesos every week, not to be touched except for education or extreme emergencies.
Tepehua Centro is a charity organization, what they do for the women/ children is free. An organization called FINCA, The Foundation for International Community Assistance, started a women’s program in Mexico. If women wanted to start their own business, they could borrow money at six percent a month. The loans were small. This started in Mexico’s Southern Sierras, known as Microcredit or Microfinance. It is not charity, it is business. The loans are only for women, who have the capacity to carry through with a business deal.
Quote from Lifestyles, “In Mexico, the best run little village lenders have grown into something closely resembling a bank. That is something rare in Mexico. Banks are for the middle and upper classes.” Most of the small loan institutions started in Mexico in 1990’s, modeled on Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, run by Muhammad Yunis. Village banks based on the Yunis model have started around the third world, all to help women. These are services no poor person ever had in Mexico before. They relied on local barrio loan sharks, who loaned 1000 pesos for emergencies and fiestas...at 100 pesos a month in interest until the loan is paid back.
Village Community Centers like Tepehua Centro Comunitario can be started in any barrio in Mexico. It takes a small group of people, with compassion and the ability to lead and the willingness to help other women rise above the hand they have been dealt. The poverty trap is brutal when there is no place to turn but inwards.
Tepehua Community Center applauds local dentists and doctors who have stepped forward to donate valuable time to the Center’s Clinic, and to all volunteers who give their most valuable of assets: time. An organization is as strong as the volunteers. The women of Tepehua are rising above themselves. They are forming strength by working together as a village— helping a village help itself.