FOMMA (Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya) is a collective of Mayan women who use theater as a tool for education and community building. They are performers, playwrights, and teachers who tour their work in their communities and internationally, performing plays that focus on women's and indigenous rights, literacy, cultural survival, ecology, health, and education in the Tzeltal and Tzotzil indigenous languages. In 1994, Mayan actresses Petrona de la Cruz (from Zinacantán, Chiapas) and Isabel Juárez Espinosa (from Aguacatenango, Chiapas) founded FOMMA to support Mayan women and children. Using the tools of theater and puppetry as empowerment, they opened a cultural space where women can represent the often traumatic experiences they have lived and imagine alternative realities. Isabel and Petrona explain that the collective has attempted to meet the needs of women who have left their highland villages in search of work. They create workshops that combine literacy in Spanish and in the Mayan languages of Tzotzil and Tzeltal with skills training in such things as bread-making and sewing, while offering childcare so that the woman are free to attend these classes.
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