Proyecto Manacú is a women-led initiative that promotes textile art to youth and children in the community. Yanely Soris Quesada set up the small business to teach and run a training program for youth and children about textile making, art and dance. The initiative also sells handicrafts to the public. With help from a grant and a link to the travel market, which has brought travellers to Proyecto Manacú, the women-led initiative is able to make an income while continuing to keep local cultural traditions alive. This local business not only empowers the women who run and learn there, but also brings income to the area that will create ripple effects in the community.
The community of Manaca Iznaga is a place known for its historical architecture, including the infamous Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), which was once a slave watchtower over what used to be one of the largest sugar plantations in the Carribean. These historical buildings are now a large draw for tourists. However, many women and small businesses are struggling to gain access to the tourism market in the area.
Planeterra helped Proyecto Manacú to create a textiles centre, enabling local women to sell traditional textiles to travellers, and helping them gain access to the tourism market. This project has also been incorporated on travel itineraries which will allow travellers to learn and experience traditional handicraft making. Visitors will get to see first-hand the local embroidery techniques used to create garments and souvenirs, and learn how the local women’s organization has impacted the community and those who visit.
Additionally, Planeterra has helped develop the experience by funding capacity building for the women involved in the program, while also providing guidance for setting up a formal microenterprise which has a licence in order to receive travellers and sell their products.