On 7th and 19th of September 2017, two of the largest earthquakes in recent Mexican history took place. The country is now in a state of emergency, mourning the loss of almost 500 lives. Over 1 million people have been directly affected by the earthquakes and there has been material damage to thousands of buildings in 12 states across the country.
The magnitude of the disaster called for solidarity from every part of our society, people immediately reacted by rescuing those who were trapped and injured, contributing to food collection centers and opening shelters for those who have lost everything. These quick acts of compassion have helped to protect many of those who have been affected by these major tragedies.
While it is true that the initial contingency plan required the attention of the most basic and immediate needs, such as food, clothing and health – which are gradually being remedied – the impact of the earthquakes caused severe damage in many other areas, which will take several years to repair.
One of these aspects are the social and cultural ties, which were severely affected by the loss of spaces, moments and people that use them. From cultural centers and libraries, to social activities and festivals, cohesion and identity were violently interrupted, breaking the daily dynamics of communities.
In response to the essential need for affected communities to regain a sense of balance and peace, in accordance with the principles that govern them, Fondo Ventura A. C., Provedora Escolar de Oaxaca and Editorial Almadía have launched the campaign TEJAMOS OAXACA.
The aim of this campaign is to restore the social and cultural ties of the affected communities through projects and artistic activities, as well as providing material and furnishings for community spaces such as libraries, schools and cultural centers. TEJAMOS OAXACA will begin alongside the International Book Fair of Oaxaca 2017 (FILO), an event that has been establishing strategies to attract support. This process will continue throughout 2018, as a first stage, through various initiatives that will incorporate a collaboration between writers, artists, publishers, companies, government bodies and the general public.
The proceeds will be used to realize a cultural agenda that will begin in 2018. This program will produce workshops, recreational and artistic activities, as well as, furniture, bibliographical, didactic and technological material for cultural centers and the donation of school desks. This cultural agenda aims to continue in the years to come, and to be one of the central topics to be addressed in FILO for the following year.
In order to design and implement this cultural agenda, we will work closely with artists, managers, associations and groups from the same communities, with the aim of generating sources of work and to ensure that activities are carried out in the most appropriate way to suit the needs and realities of the community. Also, for the provision of material resources, suppliers and manufacturers, will be sought out from the local area, thus helping to revive the economy.
In addition, we will seek to include courses and workshops aimed at dealing with potential contingency plans in the face of natural disasters, be it immediate responses – such as first aid and techniques in how to react in an earthquake – and long-term solutions- such as, recycling for building works, the creation of organic gardens – in order to have a better prepared populace.
The distribution of donations will be implemented via an investigation that will allow the elaboration of a map of cultural and educational needs based on the geographic location, diagnosis and evaluation of the communities affected by the earthquake, in order to identify the areas which are most susceptible of receiving the help. Once this mapping is completed, the beneficiary communities will be announced.