The Story of the Women Puppeteers
This is a story about EMPOWERMENT.
It is not just about a puppet show—it is about how the women behind the puppets used art to inspire others and to reveal their own self-confidence.
One warm summer afternoon, some women from the Los Martinez community in Guanajuato received an invitation that would change their life, change their story. They were invited to join a group that would work with local artists to produce a puppet show about water and sanitation issues, an artistic initiative that was part of the Guanajuato project.
And that is when the story of those women changed.
Although they were skeptical about this activity, what convinced them to join the group was that while they would be working on the social art project, their children would be offered summer activities at the community school. But the entire experience went far beyond the women’s expectations. The collaborative process with a group of artists was confirmation that the women’s opinions were valued—and they rediscovered that they could have fun.
"In our normal life, we do not dance or play. But because we were part of this group, we played as if we were girls again, and we were happy learning new things," explained Carmen with a smile.
The women have now taken the lead in telling stories that inspire their community. They immerse audiences in imaginative ancestral narratives of water snakes and monsters guarding wells; their shows not only revive local stories, but they inspire, activate, and sustain healthy water-related behaviours, like adequate treatment of water and safe management of water at home. Now known as the Puppeteers of Los Martinez, these women use their new self-confidence to tap into their childhood memories and emotions with the aim of changing their whole community. Proof positive of the transforming effect of social art.
Social Art goes beyond simply conveying information through artistic shows; it entails co-creation and community participation. The positive impacts of our SABC interventions are multiple: they can be seen in the new motivation of a group of women to step out of their daily routine; in their self-confidence and empowerment as community leaders; in their new will and determination; in their behind-the-scenes charisma. The women Puppeteers of Los Martinez now take an active role in the Social Art for Behaviour Change process. "This project has awoken our spirit," one of the women explains with excitement: "It has lit a spark, and I hope that spark will spread like fire in dry grass," another participant agrees.
To date, One Drop and our partners have changed the story of almost 135,000 people in Latin America.
Let’s change the story. Together.
Excerpt adapted and translated from the original narrative, “Los Martinez” by Mexican writer Dina L. Cisneros.