San Antonio Women's Cooperative
San Ignacio, Belize
The village of San Antonio, a community of 3,500 people in western Belize, has its roots in Mayan traditions and currently practices subsistence agriculture. The average family size is seven, with the average household having seven children. As in many cultures around the world where resources are scarce, education for women is not prioritized. Girls often go without attending school beyond primary levels. Government support is not easy to access, and so mothers rely on other forms of income to help support their children’s education, and send their daughters to high school. With little education, many girls and boys find themselves unemployed at an early age, perpetuating a cycle of poverty.
Planeterra provided a grant to the San Antonio Pottery Co-op, which allowed them to build an indoor workshop space. The new space has increased the centre’s capacity to host many more travellers, and given them added space to safely house their products. It has also given the co-op the opportunity to add a training program for unemployed youth in the the community, so that they too can benefit from tourism.
While at the co-op, G Adventures travellers try their hand at ancient pottery making techniques with a group of the Mayan artisans, enjoy a delicious home-made lunch, and have a chance to purchase pottery and other crafts made by the ladies.