The Isabel Martín Foundation is a state-level, private, non-denominational, non-political, Spanish NGO, which works on International Development Cooperation projects.

The organization was born with the vocation to continue the legacy of Isabel Martín. To that aim, it works for the empowerment of women, promoting education, dignity and justice, which are values she fought for.
In addition, it focuses on unprotected children, community development and the promotion of people, according to the principles of community philanthropy.

Creative Handicrafts

A group of volunteers from the fair trade cooperative, Creative Handicrafts, who lived with Isabel and shared her passion and dedication decided to start a Foundation when she died and it was established in 2015.

Isabel Martín

The inspiration of a life at the service of the most vulnerable.

Isabel Martín was born in Guijuelo, Salamanca, in 1926. She spent her childhood there and decided to train as a nurse. Shortly after, she realised her vocation, which arose from a conversation with a Franciscan missionary.

At the age of 18 she joined the Missionaries of Jesus Christ in Javier, Navarre, and in 1955 she was appointed to India.

This is where Isabel committed herself to the most vulnerable and excluded. She was first assigned to Cheshire Home, a home for disabled people.

Years later, in 1975, she became a teacher for new novices, and trained young sisters for eight years. In 1984, Isabel started to visit the women of the Slums, the poorest neighbourhoods in India, and realized everything she could do to provide them with a stable livelihood which could allow them to be self-sufficient.

This is how Creative Handicrafts, was born in 1985, a Fair Trade organization which currently consists of 13 cooperatives where more than 800 women work.

In 2010 Isabel's commitment to those most in need and her vocation for service was acknowledged and she was awarded the Principe de Viana Prize for Solidarity by the Spanish Government.

Isabel died on March 17, 2013 in Bombay, India.

Her life

Go through all the milestones in the life of Isabel Martin, visiting the years in her timeline.


Isabel is born in Guijuelo, Salamanca.
She spends her childhood there and she studies nursery and later she decides to become a sister.


The FIM promotes, sponsors and implements programmes and projects aimed at the development and empowerment of women as well as training, defense and development of vulnerable children, based on community philanthropy, especial in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Furthermore, the FIM conducts awareness campaigns on inequalities between the South and the North, promoting participation and mobilization of people and encouraging attitudes of active, coherent, critical and responsable solidarity.


The FIM seeks the promotion of women and their families through sustainable projects, within specific time periods, based on the social economy and subject to temporary evaluation to measure their efficiency.

It also promotes education for development in order to favour the critical analysis of reality that enables a more ethical and moral awareness in the interest of the general public to be committed to solidarity and transforming unjust structures and relationships.


  • Commitment to women.

    Wherever a woman ́s dignity is at stake, there you will find us.

  • Community Philanthropy.

    The success of a sustainable project is dependent, to a great extent, on a jointcooperation with local communities. One of our main motivations is to encourage local communities to trust their institutions and work not for them, but alongside them.

  • Independence.

    We are a non-denominational, secular foundation that implements its mission respecting everyone ́s freedom.

  • Sustainability.

    Each project that we promote, sponsor and implement is sustainable. That is, our objective is that all projects should be fully viable and working without external support in the medium and long-term.

  • Justice and solidarity.

    We advocate a fairer global society. In a world full of inequalities, our understanding of the concept solidarity is working alongside those who suffer any kind of injustice.

  • Social awareness.

    We are vocal in denouncing women ́s inequality in society in order to raise awareness of this issue at a global scale.. In order to achieve a more equitable world where a fairer social justice prevails it is vital to resort to knowledge gained through training and education.

  • Transparency.

    Our commitment to transparency involves responsible fund-raising methods, control and financial supervisionas well as accountability.

Our organization

Meet our team, board of trustees and all the people who make the Isabel Martín Foundation possible.

Learn about us