OAXACA, Mexico – For the eighth year running, the singer Lila Downs has led an appeal to collect money for scholarships for women in her home state of Oaxaca, reported AP, and for the upkeep of the Casa de la Mujer Rosario Castellanos.
She appealed for donations to the collection, which aims to raise US$36,000 for the maintenance of the home and for the ‘Guadalupe Musalem’ scholarships that help 15 young women in 39 Oaxacan communities.
According to Proceso, Lila Downs said that “we who come from different cultural, social, and economic backgrounds can testify to these results and sow a seed”.
She stressed that one of the great challenges in Oaxaca is access to education – the state has Mexico’s highest rates of both illiteracy and non-Spanish speakers, most of them women.
According to La Jornada, the Rosario Castellanos Women’s Studies Group set up the Guadalupe Musalem scholarship fund in 1995 in order to help young, exceptionally talented Oaxacan women from indigenous rural areas who would otherwise have to discontinue their education after leaving secondary school.
The Casa de la Mujer Rosario Castellanos resource centre and public library also offers legal and psychological assistance in domestic violence and family law cases and gender equality and diversity training.
Since 1996 the scholarships have helped 53 young students and their communities to develop, while at the same time creating a commitment to women’s rights. Drawn from 39 communities in the state’s seven regions, 28 percent of the students are Zapotec speakers, 9.4 percent speak Mixe and Mixtec, and 1.8 percent Chantino, Huave, or Zoque.
“Some of them have been able to continue studying in other countries, but they have returned to their communities to apply what they learnt,” Downs told El Universal.
According to La Jornada, Downs, the well-known interpreter of songs like ‘La Llorona’ and “La Sandunga” is using a video and advertising to appeal for donations, which are tax deductible in Mexico and the USA.
Lila Downs was born in 1968 in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, the daughter of a Mixtec Indian mother and an American father. She can be heard in the film ‘Frida’ singing the Oscar-nominated ‘Burn it Blue’...;)) xx