MATCH supports Mayan back strap weavers in remote rural regions of eleven municipalities in market-driven production for local, national, tourist, and export markets. The initiative will transform the practice of this culturally rich and marketable craft into a competitive and profitable economic activity, benefiting not only 2,000 women artisans directly, but also their families, communities, and the greater economy in the highlands of Chiapas.

Accomplishments as of January 2013

  • A raw materials bank has been established during the first few months of MATCH, in close collaboration with project partner Fundación Leon XIII, giving artisans access to market-driven, high quality and fairly priced raw materials.
  • Product development workshops with ATA design specialists Docey Lewis and Sol Beatriz Gonzalez Duque have resulted in exceptional new products that respond to market trends while preserving traditional motifs.
  • Design workshops by national and international buyers have resulted in significant orders by Mexican stores, such as Color Indio and Tierra Latina. US marketer Abrazo Style has purchased fashion forward Mayan blouses for National Geographic.
  • Launch of an entrepreneurial development initiative In close partnership with prestigious Mexican university Tecnológico de Monterrey and Fundación Fundemex, focusing on the artisans of Pantelhó and Chenalhó.

Current Needs
Workshops to upgrade artisans’ sewing skills with the goal of re-designing obsolete inventory into sellable products are ready for implementation, pending commitment by additional funders, designers and volunteers.

Project Lead in the US
Monika Steinberger
Senior Manager – ATA Programs

Field Contact
María Eugenia Pineda Meléndez, Country Director  mariaeugeniap@creativeservices.org
Erica Jann Lardo, Marketing Coordinator, erical@creativelearning.org

Partners & Collaborators
ATA would like to recognize Fundación Leon XIII for their leadership in the development and organization of a new raw materials bank for the artisans of the highlands of Chiapas. The collaboration with Leon XIII and Tecnológico de Monterrey has proven to be essential in fostering womens’ entrepreneurship in several municipalities. For her knowledge and experience in the artisan sector of Mexico, and her help in articulating a strategy for the weavers and embroiderers in rural communities, Marta Turok must be recognized for her contribution to the project. In the commercial arena, recognition needs to go to Mexican store and design leader ColorIndio for their design development work and business linkage with the Mayan weavers and embroiderers of the region.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The Boston Foundation
Fundación Fundemex