A young woman from San Cristobal de las Casas was brought to our attention. She was striving to get her weaving business off the ground. That is what The Off Ramp is for! It works to prevent economic displacement by investing in and supporting qualifying people and small businesses.
Vero is from an indigenous family in Mexico. Her first language is not Spanish. Her indigenous identity made Vero much more vulnerable to struggle and discrimination. After completing high school, Vero could not find work and had no funds for univeristy. She took up weaving and discovered she was good at it and enjoyed it. She thrived at the pedal loom, though she was told often that she was too small and too female. Vero says, "I love work. I love creating. I love the calculations and combining the colors. Vero took advantage of every opportunity to learn as much about the weaving trade as she could.
One day a loom became available. Vero and two friends jumped at the chance to purchase it. However, to pay it off all three traveled to the north of Mexico where they spent 12 hours a day every day for four months cutting row after row of lettuce in the beating sun. Displacement of women increases their vulnerability to violence and human trafficking.
The Off Ramp learned of these three women and their desire to become a collective of weavers and to begin earning a living for themselves. The Off Ramp was able to connect them to a mentor for their business formation and grant a small sum to pay off their loom.
Vero has since entered a program to learn more weaving styles while she continues to work with her mentor. When this is completed The Off Ramp will be able to help in product development and marketing. As a result of a small grant, mentoring, and follow up, three women are no longer vulnerable to the hazards of displacement, are building economic stability for themselves, are learning entrepreneurship, and experiencing opporutnity for growth. Learn more about Vero's story on our blog.