Home Work

If there are jobs, there's no need to go al otro lado. How one town beat the system to fund start-ups

Adriana Zehbrauskas / Polaris for TIME

Modesto Ramos inspects the fruit of his tomato greenhouse in Santa Cruz Mixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, on March 7, 2007.

Alberto Bautista, 30, is a rarity in Santa Cruz Mixtepec: a young adult male. Most of the sons, husbands and brothers from this poor remote hamlet of Mixtec Indians, tucked in the sierras of southern Oaxaca state, are migrant workers in the U.S. Some 60% of Santa Cruz's population of 3,000 live illegally al otro lado — on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border — sending back almost $1 million last year.

But now Bautista is back — working for his uncle in a new carpentry business financed by a microcredit bank that the wives in Santa...

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