A Mill of Their Own-Remodeling a Space for Corazon's Women

Year: 2015
Country: Belize
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Economic Opportunity
Project Investment: $2,336.00

Project Launch: 8-1-15

The community of Corazon Creek is located in southern Belize, near the Guatemalan border. There are limited economic opportunities, especially for women, and young girls often drop out of school early to be married. A group of eight women from the community formed the Saki Tzul Women's Group and make a daily income by preparing nutritious snacks for the local primary school, sewing aprons and cooking linens for the high school, and crocheting crafts for tourists. This project will allow the women to transform a run down corn mill in the community into a professional workspace, to make and sell food and crafts and to host community workshops and meetings. In addition to donating the building, the community is allowing the women a small plot of land next to the mill to start a vegetable garden to enhance their snack program with the primary school. With a space to expand their operations, the women will generate more income, using the money towards school fees and school supplies for their children, and will continue improving nutrition and health among the children of their community.

Project Update: 3-20-16

The corn mill has been successfully transformed into a women's center, allowing the Saki Tzul Women's Group a professional space to expand their catering and artisan clothing operations. To date, the women have catered several events at the center and are in the process of redesigning their snack program with the local primary school. Over the next few weeks, the women will collaborate with local community-based organizations to learn more about improved cookstoves and outdoor ovens, as well as team building exercises, goal setting, conflict resolution, and money management. Additionally, the women have been advancing their crochet skills and are in negotiation to sell their crafts in the United States. What started as a simple construction project has evolved to empower the women to collaborate, think strategically, and create a vision for themselves and their families.

Final Report: 6-24-16

The project has succeeded in not only providing the women of Saki Tzul with a space to meet, cook, and sell their products and baked goods, but also has served as a catalyst for educational opportunities, economic development, and social empowerment. The women received technical training, small business management training, and health education. They also received a contract for work with Maya Bags. With this latest venture, they can now expect to generate revenue from this income source well into the future, thereby, providing for their families and themselves.

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