All on-line stores are NOT created equal! Almost all the items you find here are made, by hand, in one of several women’s cooperatives or small artesanía collectives scattered throughout Zapatista Territory in Chiapas, Mexico.
As you peruse the pages of our online store, marveling at the quality and diversity of the products described on these pages, know that you are purchasing more than a product. When you look to see how much something costs, you will find a price range. At the bottom of the price range, is the lowest price we can accept and continue to do our work. If that is the price that fits your circumstance, be easy. It is enough. If you can afford to pay a bit more, please be generous. Ultimately, your purchases support the women (and men) of the Zapatista movement who are committed to making artesanía in the pursuit of a maintaining a dignified life.
Schools for Chiapas started this store in 2006; our business model was simple. We would buy merchandise from Zapatista co-ops at the asking price, never taking items on consignment. Using words and pictures we would introduce each product in our store and purchase more as soon as items sold. Our goal was (and remains) to raise funds for Zapatista collectives not to turn a profit.
Everyone who travels to Chiapas is approached on the street by women and children selling artesanía. They will name a price and expect you to bargain. In the end, they will accept a price which will pay them pennies for days of work. These will not be Zapatista women. Zapatista women have organized themselves into co-ops and collectives where they can set a more just and reasonable price on their labor. The membership of the co-op will decide how to set prices and how the resources will be divided. It is an important and necessary element to promote women’s empowerment and autonomy.