The Project: “Ak Kuxtal Sian Ka’an,” (Kuxtal—Maya—that which gives us life; pronounced kush-tol), is a network of artisans established to counter the systemically low value, low wages, and low expectations of and by artisans and simultaneously promote environmental stewardship by fostering an economically, culturally, socially, and environmentally sustainable craft industry. Specifically, Kuxtal, as a socially and environmentally committed business, would promote this new, equitable concept. As a grassroots organization, Kuxtal was established in 2008 as a collaborative initiative between two local conservation NGOs—Amigos de Sian Ka’an (Amigos) and U’yo’olche—and a small group of diverse, skilled, and experienced artisans living in close proximity to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Since people in Amigos and U’yo’olche worked closely with local artisans prior to the inception of the Kuxtal project, the needs that emerged from these cumulative interactions inspired this project.
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