Sociology major wins grant to fund U.S. speaking tour of Chiapas artisans
For sociology major Kara Deyhle, economic empowerment isn’t just a catch phrase. Watching Mayan women in Chiapas, Mexico, organize to save their families and their culture brought textbook lessons to life and inspired Deyhle to join their work.
Deyhle (pronounced “dial”) recently won a $10,000 scholarship to bring two women from Chiapas to the United States for a speaking tour that will give them access to U.S. markets for their artistic textiles.
Deyhle’s work in Mexico began during a six-month internship in Chiapas, the southern state of Mexico where the Zapatista-led army of indigenous peasants rose up in 1994, calling for land reform, Indian rights, and democracy. Home to a large population of indigenous peoples, Chiapas is rich in natural resources but one of the poorest places in Latin America.
Women are at the forefront of efforts to build economic opportunities, however, and Deyhle worked closely with a weaving cooperative run and organized entirely by Mayan women…
Under the auspices of UCSC’s Global Information Internship Program (GIIP), which brings the skills of the information age to nonprofit and grassroots organizations around the world, Deyhle helped the cooperative computerize its data so members can identify and evaluate trends in sales and production. She produced a digital inventory of JolomMayae’tik’s store in San Cristobal de las Casas and is working on a digital catalog of weaving designs that will help the cooperative market its artistic textiles internationally.