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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Stop the Eviction of El Cambalache!

El Cambalache is a 7 yr old community collective supporting thousands of marginalized women, girls and their families every year. In early April the project was notified that WE WILL BE EVICTED from our home, the heart of our community, in the next 3-9 months. We are negotiating the possibility of purchasing the house where we are located, but WE NEED YOUR HELP.
What is El Cambalache? We are a collective of six women from Latin America and one New Yorker located in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. El Cambalache, the Swap in English, is a space for moneyless exchanges of all different kinds. We believe that each person has a great deal to exchange, teach and share. In Chiapas, most women and dissident gendered people have very low access to money, but our riches lie within our hearts and minds. The project provides a space where people exchange all different kinds of things- clothing, shoes, cell phones, computers, tools, construction materials, movies, cooking appliances, jewelry, self care items, and much, much more. People also exchange knowledge through workshops on- embroidery, electrical repair, permaculture, cooking, yoga and exercise, computer repair, clothing repair, gynecology and lactation, herbal medicine, fermenting, design, chess classes, language classes, and so much more. One year ago we began a library and we have been collecting books for our community. Our project also regularly supports individuals and communities in crises such as forced displacement, natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, fires), domestic violence and pandemic relief through donations of food, clothing, mattress, medicines and we maintain a place to stay for people in need. In 2019, El Cambalache began the Department of Decolonial Economics through which we teach online and in person courses on decolonial economics and collective thought. Normally we fund our project through these workshops but our yearly budget is around $20,000 USD a year. We also have a small store that sells solidarity products produced by collectives and local communities in resistance. Our income is normally enough to provide small stipends to each of the members of the collective, pay rent and utilities. However, it is not enough to buy a permanent home for our project.
Our work is local. Women are mostly responsible for clothing, feeding, caring for and ensuring the education of our families. However, with low access to money, racism, and oppression many women find themselves in desperate situations on a day to day basis. By creating a space for moneyless exchanges and decreasing people’s dependance on money people raise their quality of life from the first day that they participate in El Cambalache. We have spent the last seven years building community connections, supporting each other, and strengthening networks across our city and region. People all over the city of San Cristobal de las Casas visit our project and the beautiful space where we do our work.
Our project is international. Through the Department of Decolonial Economics we have shared practices and ideas about how to start similar projects with people from every continent except Antartica.
All donations will go to purchasing our home and the urgently needed renovations that the current owners have negated to do. If we are able to raise $500,000 we will also begin the purchase and construction of our dream center for exchanging knowledge and practices so that we can host people from around the world to learn about how to create their own decolonial economies.
We thank you from the heart for all of your support.

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