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Building lives in San Juan Mixtepec

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After years of preparation, the Oaxacan-based organization Adobe for Women is helping a group of 20 women in San Juan Mixtepec build self-sustaining adobe houses.

The project is managed by architects Juan José Santibañez and João Caeiro. Santibañez, whose résumé includes the Biblioteca Infantil and Museo Textil de Oaxaca, managed a similar project in the 1990s.

Santibañez says the project changes the lives of the women involved, giving them a chance at a new life.

“At this moment, the women are changing their lives already,” Caeiro adds. “With the communication with the young students – both are learning from each other.”

To aid the women in building, architecture students have been filling the role of construction workers.

“We are bringing students every 15 days, and they are learning how to build something for the community,” Caeiro says. “Three days living with the women, during which the students work.”

While the foundations of the buildings are already laid out, it will take a while to get each wall up and windows in place.

Santibañez notes the group has been hunting for more cash in order to build the houses. Though each woman has her own land, each house costs about 68,000 pesos.

While Adobe for Women has held fundraising events in Oaxaca, Caeiro says they still need help.

“We are looking for it everywhere,” he says. “We are looking wherever we can for the money for the women.”

To donate visit Adobe for Women’s website at eng-adobeforwomen.blogspot.com.

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