Giving new life to an existing resource
As one of the 10 poorest areas in Mexico, residents of Santos Reyes Yucuná desperately needed to identify new opportunities to support themselves and their families. Looking to help this community move past their limited resources, the Enactus team from the Technological University of the Mixteca worked to give new life and create value from items readily available in the region.
Being a community based in agriculture, the team saw a way to transform the area’s abundant corn plants into an economically beneficial craft. They taught 25 women from this area to take this otherwise unused item and turn it into beautiful handcrafted flowers and jewelry. With the new products in place, the group was then taught to market their wares to customers attending local expositions and events. To reach global markets, a website and product catalog was also created. These efforts and products proved so popular that the group was soon able to establish sales in stores located in Oaxaca, Guelaguetza and Los Angeles. An image of the women’s corn leaf flower craft is even scheduled to be featured on a popular greeting card.
The “Ita-Viko” project is the first productive venture to operate continuously in this struggling community. Since its inception, the group has generated $6,000 in sales, decreased the craft cost by 60 percent and production time by 40 percent. The biggest success, however, remains the 25 women who are now generating change in their community and contributing to the economic well-being of their families – all by giving new life to the existing, rarely thought of agricultural by-product.