Overworked and underappreicated mothers of the Las Delicias community set aside precious time to attend an community building work shop with the help of Center for Peacemaking grant recipient, Claire Wild Crea.
This segment is taken from the blog Peace in Las Delicias.
This past weekend we ran and participated in a workshop exclusively for women in Las Delicias. An organization named ContraSIDA (Against AIDS) came to the community to work with the women for the day. They work on educating about AIDS and HIV but they also work on empowering women.
There were a total of 19 women from the community who participated in the workshop. For Las Delicias, this is huge. Women are expected to take care of their children, clean the house, wash the clothes by hand and prepare all the meals. This is the first time any type of empowerment workshop has been run in the community, so for 19 women to take an entire day for themselves is incredible.
The workshop focused on the lives of the women. We got into groups and shared our life stories. The overall consistent theme was struggle. Every single woman had struggled since their childhood. Many struggled with the intense hunger that comes from not eating for a couple days. Others were forced to quit school and begin working by age 12. All had experienced or witnessed violence within their home. It was challenging to listen to stories of pain and to hear about the intense suffering that these women have endured. Even more challenging was to share my own life story that is filled with blessings and opportunities.
Each person was given an opporunity to share and listen to one another. This was extremely important for the women. They do not have much of an opportunity to share about their lives or discuss these issues with one another. It gave them a chance to speak and be heard. But it also showed them the commonality of struggle that they share. Many women were saying they had no idea others struggled like them. It opened a space for dialogue and solidarity. They can now continue those conversations and try to support one another. But if not, hopefully they can draw strength from those around them and know they are not alone in the struggle.
We also discussed the violence that each person has experienced. From looks to words to actions. This again built a feeling of solidarity as the same issues came up over and over again. They expressed many different feelings around this but all wanted it to change. The organization gave them tips, tools and ideas to continue forward and begin creating that change.
This is huge that Las Delicias has begun giving voice to the women and furthermore empowering them in their lives. This is clearly a step in creating a nonviolent community and an effort to begin creating the change necessary to bring peace to the Las Delicias.