Nueva Visión is a community development organization helping rural communities in northern Mexico gain literacy skills. Program participants have also organized small savings groups to secure capital for small businesses and community income-generating projects. The participants use their reading and writing skills to establish micro-credit procedures and record transactions within their groups. Many have gone on to create chicken or pig cooperatives. Nueva Visión participants also organize cultural events, plant community gardens, build energy-saving stoves and greenhouses, make clothes, form community health groups and produce products (shampoos and perfumes) with local herbs for income-generation.
This woman-focused educational organization works in economically and socially marginalized communities that receive few public services, particularly in the realm of education. Currently PLAMAC works in rural villages of Central Mexico. All of the communities have women’s savings clubs, in which women individually save small amounts of money in a communal chest or savings box. Literacy instruction is based in part on the weekly meetings of women coming together to deposit money into the savings box and includes record-keeping and numeracy skills. Over time, the women begin to develop business plans for the use of the savings; income-generating projects include livestock cooperatives, bakeries, and small stores. PLAMAC has also recently started a digital literacy program using a software called Leamos that teaches basic literacy in Spanish. Learners gain reading and reading skills while simultaneously learning computer skills which they can then use to look for employment or communicate with family members who have immigrated outside of Mexico.
“Gaining literacy skills has allowed me to gain the courage to start a business. Since starting my business I have managed to stay close to my family. Instead of going to work in the United States, my husband was able to stay here to work in the family business and together we are able to care for our children."
- Adult Learner, PLAMAC