Mayan women are one of the most marginalized groups in the Yucatán region of Mexico. With poor healthcare, little education, and a lack of human rights, these women rarely able to make a living. El Hombre Sobre la Tierra offers 100 Mayan women an opportunity to hone their craft skills and produce high quality embroidered items to sell in the global market. Without organizations like El Hombre Sobre la Tierra, doing this would be nearly impossible, as textiles are very expensive, and this cost cannot be recovered in a local market. With money earned from international sales, the artisans work to develop their communities with gardening, irrigation systems, and the conservation of natural resources.
Community Context El Hombre Sobre la Tierra works with several Mayan villages in the Mexican state of Yucatán where, despite a strong tourism economy, poverty in the region is widespread. For the past five centuries, the indigenous Maya have fought to defend their cultural identity and natural resources in the face of colonization, state-sponsored marginalization and most recently, globalization. Today, most Maya live in severe, sub-standard poor conditions. Education levels remain low, and cultural norms, such as preventing women from owning land or working outside the home, make progress particularly challenging for women in the region.