By Maria Yolanda Hernandez, Mexico
I am Maria Yolanda Hernandez from Chiapas Mexico. I’m an artisan. I speak Tsotsil, Spanish and English. I am an interpreter to my mother language Tsotsil to Spanish, and I work with two textile cooperatives: Mujeres Sembrando la Vida and Jolob Jlumaltik. My work involves looking for good materials to make handmade products, providing training to artisans about production processes, taking photos and videos and selling the handmade products. I am the co-founder of a small project that gives students tutoring for different subjects that are difficult for the children in my community.
My experience during the Professional Fellows Program has taught me many new things, introduced me to new people, and helped me to network with other social change makers from around the world. These days at the Professional Fellows Congress has been very interesting. Not only am I practicing my English, but it is so interesting to be in a place where English is the unifying language of over 220 people from all over the world. It is a real experience to have a common language with almost all the other fellows.
Listening to the PFP Alumni has inspired me to continue the contributions I make to my community, showing that actions can be taken to improve the living conditions of communities.
One of my most beautiful experiences is being able to share my experience working with indigenous communities and explaining how people can start working with indigenous women’s communities. Understanding the context of these communities, their knowledge, culture, traditions, and the importance of being able to understand some of their language, builds trust in working with these people.
All opinions expressed by the program participants are their own and do not represent nor reflect official views from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, or of the Institute for Training and Development, Inc.